Archive | Neighbors and neighborhoods RSS feed for this section

What did YOU do this weekend?

15 Oct

IMG_9635

Boy, wasn’t Sunday just a picture-perfect autumn day?

The firefighters at the West Webster Fire Department really lucked out with the weather for their open house, allowing them to pull all their rigs out of the bays, set up SO MANY food tents and give-away tables, and give little wanna-be firefighters a chance to go through an inflatable fire-safety house (never seen one of those before) and use a real fire hose to extinguish some not-so-real flames.

I popped by the event and snapped some photos, making sure to give a wide berth to the free hot dog table and free doughnut table. Click here to see a gallery.

IMG_9574

The annual Webster Fall Festival held Saturday afternoon didn’t have quite as good weather. An already cool day was made even more so by a lot of clouds and a stiff wind. But the brisk temperatures didn’t seem to bother the large numbers of families who attended.

The event was held at Gosnell Big Woods Preserve on Vosburg Road, which provided plenty of open space for kids’ games, pony and wagon rides, classic cars, food trucks, a live entertainment stage, and a few community agency information tables.

The event benefited Rochester Challenger Miracle Field, which is a great cause not only because it’s right in our own Webster back yard, but it’s simply an awesome facility for the differently-abled.

Click here to see a gallery of photos from that afternoon.

* * *

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

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

Bella’s Bumbas gets a boost

24 Sep

IMG_9381

I am tickled pink to tell you all about the latest good news from Webster’s very own Bella’s Bumbas, one of the most caring organizations I have ever known, run by two of the most caring individuals I have ever met.

I won’t go into much background into this great organization. You can read more about it in this blog I wrote back in 2017, and this follow-up blog earlier this year. But briefly, Bella’s Bumbas is a non-profit organization run by Webster residents Marty Parzynski and Rebecca Orr, dedicated to building miniature wheelchairs for children with a wide variety of mobility issues. In just their first year of operation, they shipped more than 300 “Bella’s Bumbas” around the world, often adapting the chairs for each child’s individual needs, and charging the families only for shipping.

Since starting Bellas Bumbas in 2017, the couple had been working out of their small Webster home. Rebecca handled the administrative chores on a laptop at their kitchen table, and Marty assembled the chairs in a cold, cramped workshop behind the garage, which doubled as storage for all the Bumba seats, wheels, platforms and hardware.

But thanks to the kindness of a friend, those days are finally behind them.

IMG_9386Last Saturday afternoon, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Bella, her family and  several volunteers, Marty and Rebecca celebrated the official opening of their brand new workshop. The new space is actually a house belonging to a longtime friend and Bella’s Bumbas volunteer.

“Miss Lee,” as Rebecca and Marty call her, is a 97-year old woman who has been helping the couple out since they began, folding brochures and informational materials which were sent out with each chair. Recently, she had to move from her home into assisted living. When she did, she offered the use of her house to Rebecca and Marty to use as Bella’s Bumbas’ center of operations, asking only a little bit of rent in return.

It took a couple of weeks to move all of the building equipment, supplies and inventory to the new workshop, but by last week everything had been schlepped, sorted and set up. The house’s kitchen is now a workshop, the dining room is inventory storage, and the living room is the shipping center.

It’s really a dream come true for Marty and Rebecca.

“We have room to function now,” Marty said. “When we built (the wheelchairs) before we had no place to put them but on the floor. Picture 15 Bumbas on the floor. You had to move everything to get to them. It was getting to be more and more effort. It’s still a huge effort, but it’s a little more effortless because we have the space.”

Production barely slowed down during the move. These days they’re shipping out 15 to 20 chairs every week, all over the world. This week they’re shipping ones to Malaysia and Indonesia.

The chairs have come a long way since the first Bella’s Bumba. The seats are much more supportive, the wheels bigger, and very often they’re adapted specifically for a child’s special needs. A recent model, for example, was for a child with no legs and only one arm with which to drive it. Another was for a child whose legs are frozen in a frog-like position and can’t fit in a regular seat. 

“So far every challenge we’ve been given, we’ve met,” Marty said. 

When Miss Lee offered them use of her house, Rebecca said “I was surprised but not surprised.” Apparently, only a month after they had created Bella’s Bumbas, Miss Lee told her about a dream she had had.

“She told me, I had a dream,” Rebecca said. “You guys would have a building, and someday I hope it’s my home.” 

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Miss Lee had another surprise for them. “I had another dream,” she said. “You’ll have a big building that will take care of everything —  workshops, all the things we need. Room to box it up.”

Let’s hope she’s right.

Here’s a short slideshow of photos from Bella’s Bumbas new space:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bella’s Bumbas could really use your help to continue their good work.

Since the organization officially began in early 2017, Marty and Rebecca have shipped almost 600 of the custom-made mini wheelchairs all around the world. Since they charge families only for shipping, they rely on donations of building and shipping supplies, and cash to purchase hardware. Now, even though the rent on their new workshop is reasonable, it means additional overhead.

There are several ways you can help.

  • Make a direct donation through the GoFundMe page;
  • If you do a lot of shopping on Amazon, you can select Bella’s Bumbas to receive a percentage of your purchase price through the AmazonSmile program.
  • Donate through PayPal
  • Donate shipping supplies
  • Send a check directly to Bella’s Bumbas, 1170 Ridge Road, #208, Webster, NY 14580
  • You can even buy some of the chairs for them. There are three different places you can get them: 1) This design from Kmart, 2) this other design from Kmart, and 3) this one at Amazon.com.

You can connect with Marty and Rebecca through the Bella’s Bumbas Facebook page if you’re not sure how to help or have any questions, or email bellasbumbas@gmail.com.

* * *

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

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

 

Images from the Living History Tour

22 Sep

IMG_9395

I had a chance Saturday afternoon to pop by Webster Union Cemetery and catch the final half hour of the Living History Tour sponsored by the cemetery and the Webster Museum.

The event was an opportunity for local history buffs to “meet” and chat with several of Webster’s citizens from olden times, portrayed by museum volunteers. They included John Fielding Whiting, Charles and Sabrina Wright, Helen Tompkins, Mark Curtice, Mae Strowger Wright, Jennie Strowger Woodhull, and Abram and Patience Woodhull Foster.

The event’s organizers were positively giddy about how successful the day was. They estimated about 100 people — adults and children — visited the tour’s half dozen or so stops, taking photos and videos, and listening intently to the actors.

The gorgeous first-day-of-autumn weather might have had something to do with the large turnout, but I like to think there are simply a lot of people here in town who care about our local history. I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to attend the entire tour, but am hoping that the Webster Museum will consider doing another one of these next year.

By then, the volunteers’ voices will have rebounded, after their non-stop afternoon of talking.

Here’s a short slide show of some of those volunteers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

* * *

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

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

First Responders 5K a great success

2 Sep

IMG_9225b

More than 600 runners and walkers participated in the inaugural First Responders 5K on Friday night, enjoying gorgeous (albeit somewhat warm) weather and a party atmosphere to support a good cause.

The race was organized, according to the website, to “recognize the strength, perseverance, and courage of police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and their families in our local community.” Funds raised will go to create a local charity to “provide support, awareness, assets, and services to first responders seeking assistance in dealing with the effects of PTSD.”

The race began and ended on Sanford Street, at the south side of Firemen’s Field, and wound three miles through neighborhood streets on the village’s east side. Every finisher received a medal, and enjoyed plenty of post-race food, a free beer and live music. Runners came from all over the area, including representatives from fire companies, police departments and EMS companies from all over Monroe County and beyond.

Of course many of our very own Webster Volunteer Firefighters participated, completing the entire race in full turnout gear. I even saw a Webster policeman running in his full uniform — including his dress shoes.

The number of people who signed up for the race was a delightful surprise. Even the race organizers, Fleet Feet, noted that more than 600 participants is pretty much unheard of for a first-time race, especially on a Friday night. AND on Labor Day weekend.

But that’s who we are in Webster — a strong, supportive community. I fully expect that given this year’s success, the First Responders 5K will be back again next year, and Webster will come through again.

Click here to see a small gallery of photos from the race. You can also check out a short video which Channel 8 News ran after the event, featuring one of our very own Webster volunteer firefighters.

* * *

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

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

 

The Village Bakery a welcome addition

17 Aug

 

IMG_20180812_103641068

It took me a little while, but I finally got a chance to check out the brand new Village Bakery, which just opened up in the Village of Webster.

I’m fairly certain you’ve heard that the bakery is finally here; its arrival was highly anticipated. And judging from the number of people who’ve been streaming through its doors — and from my own experiences there — it has not disappointed.

I’m not going to rehash the whole history behind the decision to bring the bakery and its baking operation to Webster. That story has been told pretty well in several stories published in the D&C (here’s one, but just search for “Village Bakery” on their website to see more.) I’ll just pass along some of my thoughts from my recent visits.

The place is spacious, for starters. There’s a large dining room inside, and several tables outside, so even though the place was very busy each time I went, everyone could find a seat.

There’s a wonderful selection of breads, muffins, cookies and assorted baked goods, of course, but there’s also a nice display of Village Bakery merchandise (hats, t-shirts, mugs, etc.) and specialty food items (sauces, pasta, butters…). The breakfast and lunch menus are extensive, with lots of open and closed-face sandwiches, but with enough other offerings to keep diners happy.

Probably one of the biggest impressions I got from the Village Bakery is that it’s going to be a very popular village gathering spot. For that matter, it already is. When I was there a few days ago, I ran into six friends and acquaintances. Kind of like whenever I go to Barry’s Pub, I almost expected to know everybody who walked through the door.

THAT is the mark of a great village business. And THAT is what this village needs to help re-energize East Main Street.

The only problem I see with the Village Bakery and its new location is parking. That parking lot down immediately behind the East Main Street shops is not a big one. The few times I was there I was lucky to find a free spot. That problem might solve itself as the initial excitement wears off and crowds lessen a bit, but until that happens, you might have to park behind the Harmony House.

But basically, that’s no big deal and the effort will be well worth it.

The Village Bakery & Cafe is located in the lower level of shops at 44 East Main Street in the Village of Webster, off that street that runs next to the Harmony House (don;t know if it has a name). You can also reach it from Kircher Park and North Ave. They’re open Monday to Friday 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Check out these photos below:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

* * *

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

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

Webster is in mourning

11 Aug

barnesEarlier this week, Webster suffered a great loss when Chris Barnes, a beloved teacher, coach, father and friend, passed after a hard-fought battle with cancer.

Barnes was long-time coach of the Webster Thomas girls’ lacrosse team, and a teacher at Willink Middle School. He is remembered for both his successes on the playing field and in the classroom, but his main legacy lies in the kind of person he was and how he positively affected the lives of the young women who played for him.

You can read more about all that in a story by Stevie Johnson in the Democrat and Chronicle . I’d like to focus, therefore, on a lacrosse game held last Tuesday in Barnes’ honor.

It was the team’s annual alumna game, which this year was dedicated to Coach Barnes.  All proceeds from t-shirt’s, raffles and food went to the Barnes family.

WROC-TV and WHAM-TV both covered the game. Here’s the transcript from the WHAM story, courtesy Mary Alice and David Moore:

Tuesday night, the Webster Titans showed just how big their collective heart is. They came together to rally around a beloved teacher and coach.

Girls Lacrosse at Webster Thomas is synonymous with Coach Chris Barnes. He started the program in 2003, teaching the young women on the field for Tuesday’s alumni game everything they know about lacrosse.

“He taught me, personally, a lot about passion,” said Webster Thomas graduate Nicole Voci. “Seeing him show up to every practice and every game kind of meant a lot to me, and it made me want to win for him.”

And the players will tell you the lessons from Coach Barnes went beyond lacrosse.

“He’s meant a lot to me,” said graduate Kelsey Quinlan.

Now, the coach’s players are showing him just how much he meant to them, Tuesday’s game was a fundraiser to honor Coach Barnes during what’s become a two-year battle with colon cancer. It never stopped him – he worked right up until his surgery.

“He taught the kids as much about life as he did about lacrosse,” said retired athletic director Scott Morrison.

“His legacy is what he’s passed onto hundreds and hundreds of girls and their families,” said former Barnes assistant and present Webster Schroeder Girls Lacrosse Coach Bryan Hanley, “his spirit and how he handled himself.”

Ever the coach, even when he isn’t on the sidelines, Chris Barnes is still there – in the hearts and minds of his team.

All proceeds from Tuesday’s event will be donated to a charity of Coach Barnes’ choice.

Calling hours for Chris Barnes will be held Wednesday August 15 from 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at Willard Scott Funeral Home, 12 South Avenue, and the funeral held the following morning at Immanuel Lutheran Church. For details, click here to read the obituary.

lacrosse alumna

Webster Thomas girls’ lacrosse alumna

* * *

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

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

Happy anniversary, Kittelberger!

8 Aug

kittelberger cropped

Kittelberger Florist & Gifts, one of Webster’s best-known and respected businesses, is turning 90 years old this week (sort of), and they want to celebrate with the whole town.

I say that Kittelberger’s is “sort of” turning 90 for one main reason. Owner Bill Horeth explained in an email that they’ve actually been around a lot longer than that. He wrote,

Our family uses 1928 as our official starting date but actually it was much earlier. Jenny and Will Kittelberger lived on the property where the current store still is. Jenny had a small greenhouse from which she sold annuals and plants. The earliest records we can find of sales for Jenny were in 1915 in which she sold plants to a church. Jenny and Will brought Willy Fuchs over from Germany to work with them and help garden. After meeting Pauline (at night school to learn English) they married and carried on Jenny’s love of flowers. This 1928 date represents our families start of Kittelbergers.

Over the next 90 years the business has seen  many changes. When Xerox started to become a significant presence on that side of town, the original Kittelberger house demolished to make way for Orchard Street to connect the village. A ranch house was built next to the shop, which is now part of the gift area.  Several more renovations happened in the 70s, 80s and after, creating the Kittleberger shop we all now know and love.

Kittelberger’s loves Webster as much as Webster loves them.  Bill continued,

We have loved the privilege of doing business in Webster. Like flowers and plants, our roots have been planted here and remained on the same soil. The families of Webster and surrounding areas have not only been our customers, but have become our friends. We have celebrated with them, brought comfort at times of sorrow, welcomed new members to the family, and helped them show signs of affection and love. Many smiles have been brought to faces and have brightened doomy days. We are proud to be a part of the Webster Community and look forward to keeping Webster, Where Life Is Worth Living!

The entire Webster community is invited to join in the celebration of Kittelberger Florist’s 90 (plus) years in Webster. The anniversary bash kicks off this Thursday night August 9, when Kittelberger hosts a gazebo concert featuring Rochester Brass and Electric, beginning at 7 p.m.

On Saturday August 10, following the village’s final Wine Walk of the season, make your way down to Kittelberger’s, 263 North Ave., at 7:30 p.m. for a formal celebration with food trucks and fireworks.

* * *

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

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

5K honors the memory of Fairport man

27 Jul

Mark Callanan

As you might have gleaned from the headline, this blog is definitely not Webster-focused. But one of my a Schlegel Elementary School colleagues is helping organize this race, so it’s near and dear to my heart. I want to let as many people know about it as possible, and hopefully drum up a lot of participants.

It’s called the Mark A. Callanan Memorial Run, scheduled for Saturday August 4 in the village of Fairport.

I wrote an entire East Extra column in the Democrat and Chronicle about this race a few weeks ago, in which I shared more about the race and Mark:

Mark Callanan grew up in Fairport, graduated from Fairport High School in 2005 and attended SUNY Geneseo. He served seven years in the Marine Corps, and settled in Washington D.C. There, in June 2015 in front of the Capitol Building, he proposed to his sweetheart Kristi Altieri. They set a wedding date for the following year.

On the morning of June 7, 2016, just two months before the wedding, Mark was warming up to play basketball and collapsed with cardiac arrest. He was 28 years old.

At 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, Mark Callanan was a very big man. And he had a heart to match. Fellow Sigma Nu Chi fraternity brother Mark Picardo called his friend “someone who I always looked up to as a young adult at Geneseo.”

“Mark was one of the major reasons that I decided to join the fraternity,” Picardo said. “He was very welcoming, loving, charismatic. (He) held an enormous presence, physically and figuratively, in the fraternity.”

In the eulogy she wrote for the funeral, Mark’s fiance Kristi recalled that he “had a deep reverence for brotherhood and what it means to take care of the people we love.” Then she reminded everyone about his mischievous side.

“Surely the brother who fell off the Sig Nu roof no less than three times and refused to buy a towel for his first week living in the house because he preferred to ‘air dry,’ could not also be the brother who served in Iraq and went on to complete an internship at the White House,” she said. “But that truly was Mark. Larger than life, in every sense.”

Proceeds from the run will be used to create a scholarship in Mark’s name at Geneseo.

I recently received an email update about the race which has made me even more excited about it. It’s going to be an incredible community event.

Here are some details:

  • Racers will gather at Potter Memorial Park, 53 West Church Street, between 8 and 9 a.m. to pick up race bibs and t-shirts. You’ll also want to take a moment to find Mark Callanan’s brick in the Veterans’ walk there.
  • Opening remarks will take place from 9 to 9:15, after which participants will walk three blocks to the s=race start on Pleasant Street
  • The out-and-back race course will be well marked, but not timed. Feel free to turn around at any point, especially if it’s really warm and muggy.
  • After the race, around 11 a.m., everyone is encouraged to walk back to Potter Memorial Park for Gatorade, fruit and snacks. From noon to about 4, Mark’s family invites everyone to join them at the Inn on Church, 11 West Church Street, where there will be a food truck and dessert truck.
  • I’m looking forward to sharing some lovin’ that Saturday, and I hope a lot of my runner friends (or even walkers) will join me.

Cost to register for the race is $30 in advance, $35 the day of the race. For more information and to register, click here.

* * *

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

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

First Responders 5K scheduled for August in Webster

12 Jul

first responders

There’s a new 5K in town — and I mean in WEBSTER — and it’s one I think we can all get behind. It’s called the First Responders 5K, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. the evening of Friday August 31.

This information about the race comes from the event’s Facebook page:

The First Responders 5K will recognize the strength, perseverance, and courage of police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and their families in our local community.

First responders put their lives on the line for us every day as they face hardships that most of us will never know. The repetitive negative experience of stressful and potentially traumatic events that first responders face on a daily basis leaves them particularly vulnerable to post-traumatic stress disorder.

We hope that this event can raise awareness for PTSD in first responders, and raise funds to create a local charity that will provide support, awareness, assets, and services to first responders seeking assistance in dealing with the effects of PTSD. Join us as we recognize the service and sacrifice of the people who dedicate their lives to protecting ours.

The race will begin (and end, I assume) at Fireman’s Field on Ridge Road just west of the village of Webster. Cost is $20, or $10 for active first responders. T-shirts are not included but may be ordered for an additional $10. The race will be chip-timed, with finisher medals, post-race food and live music. To register or find out more information, click here .

Note: In conjunction with this race, a separate  Facebook event has been established for those interested in running in memory of Jimmy Weaver, a firefighter and paramedic who most recently served with the Holley Fire Department as a lieutenant. Jimmy passed away unexpectedly on June 28.

If you’d like to read more about Jimmy, click here for his obituary. If you would like to join the group running in his memory, still sign up on the regular race site, but then clock over to the group’s Facebook page to let them know about your support.

 

* * *

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

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

 

Plank North students in the news

6 Jul

IMG_1343

Just a quick shout-out to two young Plank North Elementary School students who were recently featured on WROC-TV news.

Gabby and Mia Fallone were interviewed on the July 4th, 5:30 p.m. newscast about the school’s recent Jar Wars competition, which was held in anticipation of the end-of-year Field Day.

There’s a dunk tank at the Field Day every year, and every year a handful of teachers vie for the honor of being the one to get dunked. Their photos are plastered to a series of jars set up in the school’s front hallway, and students drop their coins and dollars into the jar of the teacher they’d like to see in the tank. All the proceeds are donated to Golisano Children’s Hospital.

Jar Wars raised $246.38 this year for the hospital. Gabby and Mia presented the check in person last week, and the event was covered by WROC.

Click here for a link to the video.

* * *

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

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.