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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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Webster mini mailbag

26 Jun

Just two quick events I want to highlight today which came across my email box recently.

art-festThe first is the third annual Webster Waterfront Art Festival, which will return to North Ponds Park on July 28 and 29.

The event features artists from all over Monroe County, food trucks, entertainment, a wine tasting booth and more.

I’ve enjoyed walking the paths these last two years, checking out the artisans, listening to music, and actually picking up a few Christmas presents along the way. It was a great day when Webster landed this event, and it has been an outstanding addition to the town’s summer events calendar. Don’t miss it if at all possible.

I’ll be posting more details in my blog in the weeks ahead, but in the meantime, you can check out the website here.

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CaptureSummer is also reunion time, and just yesterday I was informed that plans for the R.L. Thomas Class of 1978 40th reunion are under way.

You can check out the flyer to the left for the details, but here they are anyway:

  • Date: Saturday September 8
  • Time: 4 p.m.
  • Location: Ukranian Cultural Center, Jackson Road, Penfield
  • Includes: Buffet dinner, cash bar, laughs, fun times, embarrassing memories and photos.
  • Cost $28 per person.

Registration deadline is August 31. You can download the form and mail it in, but if you do that and it’s hard to read…. well, we Webster kids are smart; I’m sure you’ll figure out another way to register.

Keep up on all the latest details at the RL Thomas Class of 1978 Facebook page and make sure to spread the word!

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Community meetings scheduled this week

24 Jun

 

welcome to webster

So I came across some information mostly by chance about a few community meetings coming up that I think everyone should know about.

The first is the Town of Webster Community Meet & Greet, Monday June 25 from 7 to 8 p.m. in the community room at the Webster Public Library.

Participants will get a chance to meet their state, county and town elected officials, along with first responders and leaders of several community organizations, including the Webster Special Police, who will be recruiting new officers during the event.  It’s a good chance to learn about upcoming projects and ask questions. Bring the kids, too, because there’s going to be some crafts set up for them.

Then on Tuesday June 26, the Village of Webster will host an Open House Meeting at the Community Meeting Room, 28 W. Main Street, to discuss updates to some of the local parks, and other plans for the village.

The meeting is scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

I’m planning to be at both meetings, so I hope to see you there!

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Will Ridge Road get a Country Max?

20 Jun

Representatives from Country Max, a Rochester-based garden supply and pet supply store, were on hand at the Webster Planning Board meeting Tuesday night to present their plans to build a store on the southwest corner of Ridge and Hatch roads.

The proposal includes constructing a 26,000-foot building with outdoor nursery, bag yard and parking lot on a 6.72-acre parcel (which is actually comprised of two lots, at 1165 Hatch and 711 Ridge). Two entrances will be included, one off of Ridge and the other off of Hatch.

The plan is already getting a lot of attention. About a dozen town residents attended the meeting to hear the proposal. Several of them were residents of the cul-de-sac on Bishops Lane; the large store will be built pretty much in their back yards.

After an engineer representing Country Max presented the plans, many of those in attendance approached the podium to ask questions and express their concerns. Among them were:

  • noise levels from equipment and trucks
  • buffer space between the houses and the store
  • increase in traffic on Ridge and Hatch roads
  • intrusive lighting
  • maintenance of the buffer zone (which will include a mowed area and retention ponds)
  • possible unsightliness from discarded pallets and heavy equipment behind the store

There was a lot of discussion especially about the amount of buffer space between the Bishops Lane homes and the store, and what Country Max was planning to do to maintain some of the wild area in the buffer zone and conceal the back of the store from the nearby homes.

One woman simply asked “Why?” Why does Country Max need to build a brand new store in Webster less than a mile from Thomas Landscaping, less than three miles from Lowe’s, and when there are already Country Max stores in Fairport and Ontario.

“What’s wrong with some green grass on Ridge Road instead of just commercial here and commercial there?” she asked. “The Town of Webster is becoming the Mall of Webster.”

Another resident added to that thought by wondering why they were constructing a new building rather than moving into the empty Kmart or Grossman’s.

The Country Max representatives did their best to answer the residents’ concerns.

In addition to a 50-foot town-owned strip of green space on the north side of the cul-de-sac, the store will have a 100-foot buffer, they said. The store is only open during the daytime hours (no later than 8 p.m.) and there won’t be any after-hours loading. Lighting will not be intrusive, they assured the residents; even the after-hour security lighting will be pointing down, and the parking lot lighting will be pointing mostly to the north.

As for concealing the store from the residents’ back yards, Country Max is already planning a stand of evergreens along some of the back lot line. Several people asked that those trees be extended along the entire lot line, a proposal which the Planning Board members seemed to think was reasonable.

With regards to traffic, Country Max will be working with both the State of New York (which is responsible for Ridge Road) and the Town of Webster (responsible for Hatch Road). They don’t expect the increase in traffic to be significant enough to warrant a traffic study.

Planning Board Chairman Anthony Casciani even said that during busy hours, the existing traffic light at Hatch Road, and the ability to exit onto Hatch Road would both help.

The representatives also address the “Why?” question.

“We’re actually returning to Webster,” he said.  “We’re happy to be back, part of the Webster community. We’ll try to be as likable as we can, promise not to close other businesses down, (to be a) friendly competitor. It’s a great community to be involved in.”

The planning board meeting marks just the beginning of what will probably be a pretty long process. According to the engineer, if and when Country Max receives approval, construction won’t begin until at least the fall.

The discussion will continue at another public hearing scheduled for Tuesday night Aug. 7, at 7 p.m. at the Town Board Room in the VanIngen Court Building, 1002 Ridge Road (that’s the one in back that used to be the library).

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Mini mailbag

5 Jun

Just a few quick notes this morning about a few events coming up later this week.

The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepard, 1130 Webster Road (at the corner of State Road) is holding a drive-thru takeout chicken dinner sale on Thursday June 7 from 4 to  6 p.m. (or until they’re sold out). It’s a fund-raiser for its Outreach Committee, which supports local charities in the greater Rochester area.

Each meal (from Heintzelman’s BBQ Pit of Ontario) is $12, consisting of a half-side of chicken, salt potatoes, cole slaw and cornbread.

jim

Fans, friends and family members welcomed Jim Nowakowski at the airport when he returned to Rochester in September 2015 after an exciting run on “So You Think You Can Dance?” 

Remember all the excitement in town a few years ago when local dance phenom Jim Nowakowski was competing on the TV show So You Think You Can Dance? You may remember he got as far as the semi-final round — the top six dancers — before being eliminated by audience voting.

Well, Jim will be back in town this weekend as a guest performer when his dance school, the Draper Center for Dance Education celebrates its 30th anniversary.

Nowakowski will be joined by Chelsea Bonosky, Shannon Rodriguez, Jessie Tretter and Adam Kittelberger, in addition to other Draper Center dancers.

The show will be presented on Friday June 8 and Saturday June 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Nazareth College Arts Center, 4245 East Avenue in Rochester. General admission tickets for the show are $15. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for the June 8 performance only. For $50, they include preferred seating, pre-performance reception in the Arts Center Lipson Lounge, desserts at intermission and a complimentary glass of champagne at the Erie Grill following the performance.

For additional information and ticket purchase please contact Draper Center’s main office at 585-461-2100.

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Peter Kaulback remembered, 50 years after his death

3 Jun

flags

If you were driving along Ridge Road last Thursday evening around 6:00, you might have noticed a number of Patriot Guard riders leading a small convoy of cars to Webster Rural Cemetery.

The occasion was a remembrance ceremony in honor of former Village of Webster resident Peter Jon Kaulback.

Kaulback, a lance corporal in the Marines, was killed in Vietnam on May 31, 1968, and is buried at Webster Rural.

Peter lived on Fuller Ave. in the village, a short walk to the Spry building, which at that time was the town’s high school. He graduated there in 1962, a year before the Webster Thomas building was finished. 

To honor Kaulback’s memory on the 50th anniversary of his death, several friends and local officials gathered at Spry and processed to Webster Rural Cemetery, led by the Patriot Guard riders.

Quartermaster Sean Miller represented the Webster VFW, and Councilman Barry Deane was there for the Town of Webster. In his remarks, Dean remembered that he and Kaulback had gone deer hunting the day before he left for Vietnam. 

A member of Buglers Across America played a beautiful rendition of Taps, which made the ceremony even more meaningful.

There’s currently a display at the Webster Public Library in honor of Peter Kaulback with lots more information, including a copy of the letter he sent to his girlfriend after learning he was going to Vietnam. The display also features information about Don Holleder, another of the five young Webster men who died in Vietnam.

Thank you to Jim Lanson for coordinating the simple, yet beautiful ceremony.

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