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We all have a story — even your kids’ teachers

30 Nov

You know how sometimes children are surprised to learn that their teachers don’t live at school, don’t spend all their after-school hours in the classroom, and don’t ever have to go shopping at Wegmans?

Adults, of course, are more enlightened, but it’s still easy to assume that during the school year, teachers are almost entirely focused on their jobs and they otherwise lead rather humdrum, uninteresting lives.

WAHAS_11x17_PosterPhotographer Linda Hayes of Hayes Photography hopes to change that perception with her current exhibition, We All Have a Story: The Stories Continue. 

The exhibit, which will be on display at the Webster Public Library all next month, is a follow-up to Hayes’ first We All Have a Story exhibit in spring of 2018.

Hayes is a portrait photographer and Webster School District (WCSD) teaching assistant who has created images of 21 of her WCSD colleagues. Each staff member also submitted a narrative of his or her life story to share next to their photos.

The exhibit takes a closer look at the lives and stories of these WCSD staff members to help illuminate the people inside the classrooms and offices who work with our children every day. The stories are thought provoking, happy and sad. But more than anything else, they will probably make you think, “Wow, I never realized that.”

The exhibit, which runs the entire month of December, will be open to the public during the library’s normal business hours, Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 10 to 6, Saturday from 10 to 5 and Sunday from 1 to 4. (The library will be closed for the holidays on December 24, 25, and 31.)

The public is invited to an opening reception on Tuesday Dec. 3 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.  Both the exhibit and reception are open to the public. The Webster Public Library is located at 980 Ridge Road.

I’ll be at the reception; I’m pleased and honored to say that I’ve been included in this project. If you come to see the exhibit, you’ll read how three simple — but powerful — words changed my life, helped me realize my passion and convinced me to become a writer.

I hope to see you there!

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Blood drive honors Colin Montesano

27 Nov

You have an opportunity on Saturday to honor a life ended too soon, while helping to save others.

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A blood drive being held Saturday Nov. 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Webster Schroeder High School honors the memory of Schroeder graduate Colin Montesano, Schroeder class of 2014, who passed away suddenly two years ago at age 21.

Colin had wanted to dedicate his life to helping others by becoming a physician and studied at the University of Pittsburgh. He was also an active community volunteer and talented athlete. He was also an organ donor, so Donate Life will also be at the blood drive signing people up to be organ donors. Anyone who donates blood, signs up to be an organ donor or already is an organ donor can enter to win raffle baskets and gift cards from local businesses.

Here are the drive details:

Blood Drive in honor of Colin Montesano
Saturday, November 30, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Webster Schroeder High School library
875 Ridge Road, Webster. Walk-ins are welcome.

Aside from this being a great thing to do in Colin’s memory, this is also a critical time of year for blood donations. Donations decline significantly from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day as people get busy with holiday activities, so the Red Cross really needs your help.

If you can’t make today’s drive, here are a few other local opportunities coming up in the next weeks:

  • Visiting Nurse Service, 2180 Empire Blvd., Webster:  Friday Dec. 6, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • St. Martin’s Lutheran Church, 813 Bay Rd., Webster:  Tuesday Dec. 10 from 1 to 6 p.m.
  • Webster Knights of Columbus, 70 Barrett Drive:  Wednesday Dec. 11 from 1 to 7 pm.

BONUS! Anyone donating between Nov. 25 and Dec. 18 will receive a $5 Amazon gift card by email from Suburban Propane.

Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are encouraged (and help you get in and out a little faster). Call 1-800 RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or log onto RedCrossBlood.org.

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“All roads lead to Barry’s”

10 Nov

staff

By all accounts, last night’s 8th anniversary party for Barry’s Old School Irish was the most memorable special event yet at our little pub.

As with every one of Barry’s special events, the place was packed to the rafters, and a good two dozen people were even braving the chilly weather on the patio. If you weren’t there, you missed a rockin’ set by Billy Herring, a bagpiper, Irish dancers, pub-wide singing, and Danny’s annual epic toast, which this year stretched to seven hand-written pages.

As one who’s been part of the Barry’s Pub family since it opened, I often look back and marvel at all the good friends I have made there. There was a time when pretty much any night of the week, I could look around and know most of the people who were sitting at the bar and tables.

That’s not the case any more, of course. Barry’s is no longer a well-kept secret, and I often whine (in jest) that Danny and Jess keep letting in new people that I don’t know.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Danny and Jess have created something unique and special. They have stayed true to their dream, and remain clearly focused on what’s most important when running a business: everyone — from the first-time visitor to one of the original “Friday night” regulars — is family, and family always comes first.

In Danny’s toast, he told the story about how when he and his family were driving around Dublin earlier this year, another car pulled up next to them and started honking the horn. The driver was wearing a Barry’s Old School Irish t-shirt.

All roads lead to Barry’s, and their loving influence is reaching around the world.

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Photos of this year’s pet costume winners

3 Nov

 

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Better late than never, I present today photos of this year’s pet costume contest winners!

This contest has been run for the last few years during the village’s Trick-or-Treat Trail, but it’s been difficult to get the word out and actually get people and their dogs to meet up at the appointed time and place. So this year, Peter Elder — who organizes the contest every year — came up with a creative solution.

He wrote,

My son and I served as judges for the dog costume contest and since we could not find anyone gathered in front of Village Hall, we spread out through the (very large) crowd and found several dogs and their owners in costumes. After passing through once, we went back and awarded them first second and third prizes.

Peter added that this was “an excellent strategy for making the people and the dogs happy. … People loved being stopped and given gift cards.”

The three lucky winners this year are included here.

Make sure to get out there and trick or treat with your pup next year, ’cause you never know…you might get a treat yourself!

Also, we’re hoping to resurrect the business-sponsored scarecrow contest next year as well, so watch for more news about that!

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Thoughts on the First Responders 5K

2 Sep
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(Photo courtesy Mary White)

An amazing 625 people — both adults and children — participated in the second annual First Responders 5K on Friday night, which began on Sanford Street near Firemen’s Field and wound through the east side of Webster village.  It’s an impressive number considering it was the start of Labor Day weekend AND it was a Friday night, two very good reasons that race participants might have had other things to do or places to be.

But again this year, Webster and our surrounding communities showed how incredibly

holly and me

Before the race with my friend Holly. (Courtesy Mary White)

supportive they are of our first responders. And not only did the race attract a lot of runners, but the number of village residents who took the time to sit out front of their homes and cheer the runners as we raced by was heartening and very much appreciated.

Kudos to all of the firefighters and police officers who ran in their full gear; the weather was much improved over last year’s heat and humidity, but it must have still been a struggle to complete the 3.1-mile course while wearing many pounds of gear.

I took a few pictures, but not as many as our favorite Turkey Trot photographer Mary White. I’ve posted a few here, but if you’d like to see a lot more, click this link for an entire gallery.

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Race in Webster Village Friday night will affect traffic

29 Aug

first responders

If you find yourself driving in and around the Village of Webster on Friday night, be prepared for some possible temporary road closures.

The second annual First Responders 5K will be winding its way through (mostly) the east side of the village Friday night Aug. 30, beginning at 6:30 p.m. 

first responders logoThe race is designed to raise awareness of PTSD in first responders, and raise funds for FRST Agency, a newly created organization that will provide support, awareness, assets, and services to first responders seeking assistance in dealing with the effects of PTSD.

It will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Sanford St., on the south side of Firemen’s Field. Runners will head east down Sanford Street to South Ave., and then snake their way through the east-side neighborhoods before returning to Firemen’s Field. The course will take runners along Fuller Ave., Dunning Ave., Meadow Dr., Southwick Dr., Hawley Dr., Judson St., Harmon St., and Curtice Park, requiring temporary restrictions on these streets. In addition, Rt. 250 between State Rd. and Main St. will be closed for a short time and restricted for about an hour.

Click here for a map of the race route.

Organizers have mailed notices to all the affected residents on these streets, noting that while some streets will be closed during certain times, local residential traffic will be delayed but accommodated. So it’s not like you’re going to be trapped at home — or stuck on Main Street — for the entire race.

However, if you live on one of these streets and CAN afford to be stuck at home, please consider pitching a chair or two in your driveway and come out to cheer on the runners. As a frequent participant at races like these (and I will be running Friday night as well), I can attest to how great it feels to have people along the route encouraging you, ringing cowbells and handing out high-fives. This is a great community event, and it would be awesome to see the community come out in force to support it. (The race will run by my house twice, so I’ve convinced my husband to offer a special “water” stop for first responders in gear.)

If you’d like to participate as a runner OR walker, registration will be open on-site up to the start of the race. Just look for the registration tent at Firemen’s Field after 5 p.m. that evening.

For more information about the race, or to register online, click here.

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Village People

27 Aug

houses

My husband and I have met some wonderful people since we moved into the Village of Webster. It took very little time before we got to know a dozen neighbors, and the neighborhood began to feel like a family.

Now don’t get me wrong. I had some wonderful neighbors at our old house in North Penfield, and we still keep in touch. But somehow the connection is different — closer and more neighborly — in a village setting.

And that’s true even if the neighbors don’t even live here anymore, as evidenced by something that happened last night.

A couple — Joanne and Bob — were walking by our house, and had stopped to take a closer look. We got to chatting with them and Bob explained that he’d grown up in the house back in the ’50s, and his mother continued to live here for many years after, including after his marriage to Joanne.

So of course, we invited them in.

It was a no-brainer for me. For years I had dreamed of revisiting my childhood home in Owego, which I had left in 1976. Several years ago, when I was in town for a high school reunion, I finally marshaled the nerve to knock on the door, and asked a total stranger if she wouldn’t mind my coming in and looking around. She was kind enough to allow me to do just that. It was a walk back through memories I will always fondly remember.

I was delighted to be able to give Bob and Joanne that same experience. Their eyes lit up as they remembered Mom’s little kitchen, where our fireplace is now located. Bob pointed out where an archway was removed to open up the entire first floor. Our kitchen used to be a small back room where his mother typed up novels and magazine articles. The large bedroom upstairs where he and his brothers slept has been split into two rooms. And he pointed out that the porch light is the very same one he remembered from his youth.

It was a delightful walk through the past for us as well. We enjoy hearing about the history of our little home and the lives that were lived here.

Bob and Joanne now live up near the lake, and like to drive into the village to take their evening walks.  We look forward to the day that they stop again for a visit. They’ve promised to bring along a photo album, so we too can see our home as it used to be.

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Photos from the Kiddie Parade

13 Jul

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The fire trucks had their parade on Thursday, but on Saturday afternoon it was all about the kids.

The annual Firemen’s Carnival Kiddie Parade kicked off from Spry Middle School at noon on Saturday under very sunny, hot skies. At about 15 minutes long, it was a much, much shorter parade than its big brother Firemen’s Parade, but none the less entertaining.

It’s always fun to see the creative floats and costumes that many a mom and dad have come up with. But it’s also delightful to see the little ones being pulled in a wagon or pedaling along furiously wearing just a Halloween costume.

As exciting as it is for these kids to be in an actual parade, I think they especially (and maybe even mostly) liked throwing candy to the crowd.

I took a lot of photos, of course. Click here to see a whole gallery.

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Webster native & GRAMMY winner Kate Lee will play at Eastman

2 Jul

Kate Lee & Forrest O'Connor at Kilbourn Hall Info

Americana duo Kate Lee and Forrest O’Connor of the GRAMMY Award-Winning Mark O’Connor Band will be performing a show at Eastman Theatre’s Kilbourn Hall on July 10.

Kate is a Webster Schroeder High School alumna (class of  ’10) and one of the best fiddlers I have ever met. She attended Schroeder with my son, and they occasionally played together at musical events. She was an amazing talent those many years ago and has only gotten better.

Over the last three years, she and Forrest have earned national recognition as the lead singers and primary songwriters of the Mark O’Connor Band, which features O’Connor’s father, seven-time CMA Award-winning violinist Mark O’Connor. Lee and O’Connor wrote the majority of the band’s first album, Coming Home, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Bluegrass Albums Chart and won a GRAMMY Award in 2017. The group spent the past summer opening for the Zac Brown Band, including two appearances at Fenway Park.

Lee (vocals, violin) and O’Connor (vocals, guitar, and mandolin) began performing together in 2014 under the name Wisewater, whose EP, The Demonstration, reached #13 on the iTunes Singer-Songwriter chart.

O’Connor is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard and former Tennessee State Mandolin Champion, while Lee is a Belmont graduate and violinist who has frequently backed up stars ranging from John Legend and Kelly Clarkson to Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood at the CMA Awards shows.

For their upcoming show at Kilbourn Hall, Lee and O’Connor will be accompanied by Eastman School of Music graduate Geoff Saunders on bass, who has performed with Chick Corea, Gloria Estefan, and Bobby McFerrin, among others. They will also be joined by two-time national mandolin champion Isaac Eicher and Americana-Country vocalist Mallory Eagle.

The show is a double-bill with singer-songwriter Chris Wilson and begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased through eastmantheatre.org or by calling (585) 274-3000.

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Homeless pups benefit from Eagle Scout project

18 Jun

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Even dogs appreciate a good playground, and thanks to a local Eagle Scout candidate, they have a new one at Pets Stop Here in Spencerport.

Justin Karnisky from Troop 110 in Webster recently completed his Eagle Scout project for the Spencerport-based nonprofit organization Pets Stop Here. Called a Rescue Dog Playground, it’s an agility playground for pups.

Pets Stop Here, Inc. is a volunteer dog rescue organization committed to rescuing domestic companion animals primarily from the Rochester area. Pets Stop Here  provides a safe and secure refuge for abused, unwanted, and neglected animals through foster homes or lodging at The Pup Stop while they await adoption.

Proud mom Karen, who also sent me these photos, reports that

Justin completed the fundraising and design of the project over the past few months, created a miniature model of the playground, and gathered several of his fellow Scouts to complete the assembly. As part of the project he is also doing a supply drive for the organization.

Attached are some pictures of the Scouts and of Justin with Dawn Saunders, who owns Pets Stop Here, Inc.

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