Archive | Neighbors and neighborhoods RSS feed for this section

The village lights are still twinkling

3 Mar

Any day now, the village’s Public Works Department will be taking down the snowflakes on the light poles along Main Street and the twinkly lights in the trees. And I, for one, will be sorry to see them go.

I’m sure there’s been some grumbling about why the “Christmas” lights are still up when St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner. Even I become a bit judgmental when I see reindeer and Santa still decorating the occasional front yard. But when it comes to our downtown, I’m a bit more forgiving.

The way I see it, even though these decorations go up just before the holidays, they are snowflakes, after all. So they could just as easily be winter decorations, not just holiday decorations. And as for the twinkly lights in the trees, I think they should be left up all year long. They add a special small-town charm after dark.

So one evening soon I’ll be running or walking through the village and notice that the lights are gone, and it will make my heart sad. But in the meantime I’ll enjoy and appreciate the little bit of magic they bring to the village.

* * *

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

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.

Local athlete makes a splash in North Dakota

14 Jan

I received a Proud Momma email the other day from one of my most faithful readers, AnnMarie Johansson, who knows I like to highlight Webster’s young people and their accomplishments.

AnnMarie wanted to let me know that her son Dan, a 2013 Wester Thomas graduate, is making a name for himself as the equipment manager for the University of North Dakota.

The local newspaper there, the Grand Forks Herald, recently featured Dan in a long article on the front page of its Friday sports section. It describes how the very physical job keeps him in constant motion, leads to a lot of late nights and early mornings, and very few days off.

Ann Marie wrote that back in the day, Dan played a for the Webster Cyclones youth hockey association and “maybe a year or two for JV,” adding, “He was never ‘good enough’ for varsity.”

She and her husband Eric are, naturally, very proud of their son.

Click the “Download” buttons below to check out the article yourself.

* * *

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

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.

Library, Hope House collaborate on successful clothing drive

13 Jan
HOPE Ministry Director Margery Morgan with a carload of donations. (Photo provided)

The Webster Public Library and HOPE Ministry joined forces recently to bring a little bit of happiness and warmth to local families during the holidays.

The organizations teamed up to host a two-month long winter clothing drive to benefit the families who rely on Hope House, located at Holy Trinity Church, for food and clothing.

The library hosts this giving event every year, and library patrons and staff members always come through in a big way. This year, enough hats, mittens, scarves, coats and socks were collected to fill a large SUV floor to ceiling.

“There was just SO much,” said Margery Morgan, Director of HOPE Ministry. “A lot of it was hand-knitted and hand-crocheted,” she added, and seemed especially pleased with all of the socks and brand new items they received, items they can’t always offer to their clients. All of the donations will be distributed to low-income Webster families during the Hope House’s regular food distribution hours.

This year’s clothing drive has ended, but the Hope House continues to accept donations of personal hygiene items, cleaning items and food. The need is especially great as the pandemic continues to devastate families’ lives. Illness and unemployment have driven many people into a place they never dreamed they’d be: needing assistance just to put enough food on the table.

If you’d like to help out, visit the Hope House website or Facebook page to see a wish list of items the ministry especially needs. Contact-less drop-off for donations is available. And if your family needs the kind of support the Hope House provides, give them a call at 585-265-6694 to discuss your situation, or stop by during their normal hours of operation.

“We’re here because we want to help people,” Morgan said. “Nobody should be hungry.”

Hope House is located at Holy Trinity Church, 1450 Ridge Rd., Webster. Hours are Monday 4 to 7 p.m, Tuesday 9 a.m. to noon and Wednesday 2 to 5 p.m.

* * *

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

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.

Two stories of holiday kindness

19 Dec

Here are a few quick stories that will brighten your day.

The first comes from one of my faithful readers, whose daughter Julia dances with the local studio Dancing With Denise, located on Gravel Rd. in Webster.

Owner Denise Baller has always supported our community in so many ways, most recently participating in the recent Webster Holiday Parade of Lights, where she and her dedicated dancers kept going through rain and snow until the very last car drove through the parade.

Last week Sunday she and her “Happy Feet Dancers” dancers took that commitment to The Maplewood senior living community and created their very own Dancing Parade around the outside of the building. Each resident was treated to their own private dance show right outside their windows.

The photo above is of the dancers in their holiday gear. Go on over to Denise’s Facebook page to see more photos and a really cute video.

I picked up this next tidbit from a Facebook post created by Jamie Nodine about her son Josh.

I wrote about Josh back in March when he was treated to a very special birthday parade past his house, kind of a consolation prize for when his Dream Factory trip to Walt Disney World got canceled.

On nice days, Josh likes to sit outside his State Rd. home and wave at the cars and trucks driving by. When he was doing that a little more than a week ago, he was surprised by a very special visitor.

Jamie wrote,

The weather was beautiful yesterday! It was a perfect day for Josh to sit in the driveway and wave to passersby. As I looked out the front window, I saw a truck slow down and stop in the driveway. Much to my surprise, Santa hopped out to greet my son! Josh was beside himself! With a “ho ho ho,” he handed Josh some candy canes and wished him a Merry Christmas.

Josh was thrilled, Jamie added, and talked about the experience all night long. A big thank you to the the kind Santa in the pickup truck for taking the time to make a special memory this special young man.

* * *

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

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 woman runs for Bella’s Bumbas

9 Nov
Kim Rosdahl with a Bella’s Bumba

Here’s a great story about a woman who took her passions and used them to benefit a very worthwhile organization.

Webster resident Kim Rosdahl is a runner, the kind who last year signed up for a 50K trail race in hilly Mendon Ponds because she thought it would be a fun challenge. Her normally packed fall racing calendar has mostly been cancelled due to the pandemic, however, so she decided to create an event of her own: a charity run to benefit Bella’s Bumbas.

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. To date they’ve shipped about 1500 chairs to children in at least 27 countries, often adapting the chairs for each child’s individual needs, and charging the families only for shipping.

Kim found out about the organization at work, where she provides early intervention services to young children. Bella’s Bumbas’ mission to offer mobility for children struck a chord with her.

If I’ve learned one thing through the past seven months of this global pandemic, it’s that running and movement in general have not only kept me physically healthy but emotionally and mentally strong at the same time. …

During my 15 years working in early intervention I’ve worked with many children who have limited to no mobility due to various health reasons. It was last year that I was introduced to the Bella’s Bumba chair and learned that it was developed and made right here in the town of Webster, where I live.

It didn’t take her long to come up with the perfect way to bring her two passions — running and her work with children — together.

She reached out to Bella’s Bumbas for permission to organize a run to raise funds and awareness. Then she spread the word to her neighbors and friends: join her as she ran for three hours around her neighborhood for Bella’s Bumbas.

Many people did. From 9 a.m. to noon yesterday morning, Kim Rosdahl ran in never-ending laps around her Tuscany Lane neighborhood. She was sometimes accompanied by friends and family, often times accompanied by children. By the end of the run, more than 20 different people ages 4 to 62 had joined her for at least one lap, and Kim estimated she’d completed more than 17 miles.

Many others who didn’t participate have donated to the Bella’s Bumbas GoFundMe page in support of Kim’s run.

After the run Kim wrote in an email,

This organization has made an impact across the globe for children who would have never had the opportunity to become more mobile and engage in play with their peers. Knowing the impact movement has made in my life and the ways it’s helped me through the past few months, I know the impact for these children is even larger!

It made me so happy to see many of the kids and families within my neighborhood join me during my 3-hour run. It makes me even happier to know that we helped to provide more opportunities for so many children both inside and outside our community, to laugh and play and engage in movement activities making life just a little bit better.

It was a wonderful day, not only because the weather was glorious. It was also an inspiring testament to the fact that one person can really make a difference in our world, especially when you follow your passion.

To find out more about Bella’s Bumbas and the difference they’re making for children all around the world, check out this YouTube video. You can also connect with them on their Facebook page. And definitely connect to Bella’s Bumbas GoFundMe page to show your support for Kim’s run!

Some of the morning’s youngest runners (L. Currier)
Kim’s neighbor friends Olivia, Abby and Ellie help her hold the finisher ribbon they made for her to break through at the end of the run.

* * *

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

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.

Reconnecting with “the boys”

20 Sep

There’s very little that will get me to set an alarm before 8 a.m. on Sunday morning — or set an alarm at all. But if it meant a chance to reconnect with “the boys,” I was happy to make the sacrifice.

I hadn’t seen the boys in more than ten years. I first met them back in 2008. I had to drive my son to Schroeder very early every Wednesday morning for his chorus practice, and since I didn’t have to be at work that early, I’d stop over to Hegedorn’s and have a cup of coffee.

On those mornings, several guys would be sitting in a nearby booth, drinking coffee and having lively conversations. For a few weeks, I would just sit and listen to their conversations as I read the paper.

In my first blog about “the boys,” on June 6, 2008, I wrote:

The talk bounces from politics to the best hunting and fishing spots, from the weather to the stock market. The conversations are always animated, the opinions always presented with conviction and an “I-don’t-care-if-you-agree-with-me-or-not” attitude. And if I keep my ears open, I occasionally pick up a vital kernel of knowledge such as “Never argue with a proctologist.”

But before long, I started joining in the conversations myself, and unofficially became one of the gang.

I started really looking forward to Wednesday mornings, which turned into Thursday mornings the following year when my daughter entered Schroeder and started chorus.

But early that school year, the boys were displaced when Guida’s Pizza moved into Hegedorn’s. I found them only once or twice after that, hanging out at nearby Bill Gray’s, but soon lost touch.

Until this morning. Thanks to a chance meeting with Tony, one of the original boys, at yesterday’s NEQALS groundbreaking ceremony, I found out that the guys are still meeting every morning, most of the time at Burger King on Hard Rd.

So I got up early and headed on over. I hoped they would remember me.

I shouldn’t have worried. As soon as I walked in I saw the smiles and heard some delighted greetings. The group’s grown a bit — they don’t fit in one, or even two booths anymore — and we’re all ten years older. But the conversations have pretty much remained the same.

And, coincidentally, Doug has a proctologist appointment this week. Hoping he remembers that sage advice from years ago.

* * *

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

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.

Village block party brought music to the streets

14 Sep
The Red Hot and Blue Band performed a porch concert for about 100 village residents Saturday afternoon.

I have come to realize that one of the main things I miss most during this pandemic is the opportunity to see live music.

Fortunately, those opportunities have begun to present themselves again in the last several weeks. For example, the Village of Webster held three Friday night concerts at the gazebo, and Barry’s Old School Irish is back to hosting its regular traditional Irish music sessions every Saturday night.

I consider yesterday’s live music event a bonus, however. It was a village block party held on Park Ave., just around the corner from my house (OK, two corners).

A portion of Park Ave. was blocked off for the party.

I’m not sure who organized the event, but I’m sure my Park Ave. neighbor Doug Pucci had something to do with it. It was on his porch that his rockin’ Red Hot and Blue Band performed for almost three hours to an appreciative audience of almost 100 adults and children.

The organizers distributed flyers all over the surrounding neighborhoods, but everyone in the village was invited, regardless of whether they got one of the “invitations” before they ran out.

The sun was shining, the children were dancing and making chalk drawings in the middle of Park Ave., and neighbors were meeting neighbors. It was a quintessential village experience.

Thank you to everyone who helped pull this together. It was exactly the thing all us music-starved and socially-deprived people needed.

At one point, almost 100 adults and children were watching the concert, dancing, or playing in the street.

* * *

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

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.

A visit with my new Webster Village eye doctor

2 Sep

I could probably fill a small notebook with everything I love about living in the village. But no matter what’s on that list — music, shops, pubs, neighbors — one underlying theme ties them all together: people.

That fact was reinforced yesterday when I went for a long-overdue eye appointment.

We were in between optometrists when we moved to the village last year, so we decided to sign on with Webster Eye Care Associates. The office, at 81 East Main St., is about an 8-minute walk from my house. (I LOVE being able to walk to places!)

The place was bustling with activity, and much larger than it appears from outside. The staff members were friendly and efficient, and Dr. Hochreiter, who handled my exam, was very professional and thorough, and patiently answered all of my questions.

But I especially enjoyed my time with the big teddy-bear of a technician who helped me choose my new pair of frames and took the appropriate measurements. We laughed and joked throughout our entire visit. We even discovered at one point that we both used to live in small-town Owego, in the Southern Tier, and shared memories of our old hometown.

My new friend Mike Gustin and me

Only toward the very end of our time together (after learning that I was a new customer) did this very friendly and jovial gentleman introduce himself. All that time, I had been joking with Webster Eye Care co-owner Mike Gustin.

It’s not often that you can walk into a medical office for the first time and leave an hour later feeling like you’ve joined a family. That’s how the folks at Webster Eye Care Associates made me feel yesterday. That’s what small-town hospitality and neighborliness is all about.

* * *

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

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.

Immanuel Lutheran food drive a big success

28 Aug

Thank you to everyone who took the time to stop by Immanuel Lutheran Church last weekend to donate to the church’s food drive. Ed Huehn, one of the drive’s organizers, reports that it was a great success.

Immanuel Lutheran, located at 131 W. Main Street in the Village of Webster, has been a longtime sponsor of the Webster Schools’ Weekend Food Backpack Program, which provides bags of food for more than 70 children in all seven of the district’s elementary schools.

The church also is home to one of the town’s several Little Free Pantries. These tall cabinets, which resemble very large Little Free Libraries, are placed in parking lots or other public places, and packed with food and toiletry items. Based on a “take what you need, leave what you can” philosophy, community members in need can stop by at any time and help themselves to whatever they can use.

When the schools all closed in March, and backpack food deliveries could no longer be made, the church community shifted distribution to the Little Free Pantry in their parking lot.

Before last Saturday’s food drive, Ed said, both their pantry and storeroom were almost empty. But by the end of the day, they were full again thanks to the generosity of our Webster community members. All the donations will be used to restock the pantry daily, and start up the Weekend Food Backpack Program again when school buildings reopen.

WHAM-Channel 13 stopped by and posted a short story on the effort. You can see that here.

How you can help

If you missed the food drive but would still like to help out, the church continues to accept donations for their hunger ministry initiatives. According to their website,

Items that can be donated to the pantry include non-perishable foods such as pasta, cereal, pancake mix, soups, canned fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, sugar, and flour. Personal hygiene and toiletry items such as soap, tooth paste, deodorant, toilet paper and diapers. Children’s coloring books and crayons can also items that can help out a family.

Just recently, Immanuel Lutheran added a large produce stand next to their pantry. If you have an extra garden vegetables this summer, they would also be very welcome.

Immanuel Lutheran Church’s Little Free Pantry, located in the church’s parking lot, with a brand new companion produce stand.

Webster’s other Little Free Pantries are located at St. Martin on Bay Road, Webster Baptist Church in the Village of Webster and the United Church of Christ on Klem Road. Any one of these organizatons would greatly appreciate your donations.

Bella’s Bumbas’ mission is spreading worldwide

17 Aug

(A young boy in the Philippines learning to use his Bella’s Bumba.)

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you’re very familiar with Bella’s Bumbas.

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. To date they have shipped more than 1400 chairs to children in at least 27 countries, often adapting the chairs for each child’s individual needs, and charging the families only for shipping.

Although the world has in many ways come screeching to a halt these last several months, children’s need for these special chairs has not slowed, and neither has Rebecca and Marty’s commitment to filling that need.

On the contrary, they’ve devised a plan to get even MORE chairs shipped worldwide, more economically, by packing and sending international “kits.”

Rebecca explained in an email,

Bella’s Bumbas has been trying out sending “kits” internationally to a few countries, and having success with it. We can UPS all the needed assembly parts, minus the seats, for three to four Bella’s Chairs. (We’ve sent them) to Indonesia, Philippines, and now we would like to start in Malaysia.

In Indonesia, they receive a box of parts from us, purchase a comparable local seat to attach and send within the country to the family in need. The family pays a portion of the international shipping of the parts, and the local shipping from our volunteer in Indonesia.

The kits are saving everyone money all around. 

If we were to ship one completed Bella’s Bumba to each Indonesian family that requests one, it would be approx $350.00 USD. We can send the same size box with three to four kits to our volunteer for nearly the same price.

What started just three years ago, when Marty cobbled together the first Bumba for his niece Bella, who was born with spina bifida, has now spread across the world, enriching thousands of children’s lives with newfound mobility. 

How you can help

Even though many of their parts are donated, Bella’s Bumbas does have to buy parts and cover some overhead expenses. If you’d like to help out, visit their GoFundMe page, where you can also read more about their background and continued efforts.  

They could also use boxes. The perfect sizes are 50 cm. x 45 cm. x 28 cm. (Rebecca uses two of these for the small chairs); 28″ x 20″ x 14″, and 29″ x 14″ x 24″ are great for the large chairs. If you’re getting Amazon deliveries regularly, you might also have the boxes they need; the ones that say P5 on the bottom are perfect (25.75″ x 20.75″ x 16.5″).

So if you have any boxes that are the right size, and would like to donate them, please connect connect with Marty and Rebecca through the Bella’s Bumbas Facebook page 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.