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Holiday lights benefit AutismUp — an update

7 Jan

house

Here’s a quick update this morning.

You may remember the blog I wrote a few weeks before Christmas about a tremendous holiday lights display hosted by Cora and Charlie Venishel in Penfield. This year, in addition to their twinkling spectacle of lights, the Venishels decided to also solicit donations to AutismUp from the many people who stopped by.

A1486150458holiday-thank-you-clip-art-free-clipart-images-4fter the blog — and a column I wrote in the D&C about the display — Cora and Charlie reported they definitely saw an increase in traffic. And a lot of those people chose to drop some dollars in the donation box.

Cora sent a thank you note to everyone the other day. She wrote,

On behalf of the Venishel family, we would like to express our gratitude for the donations made to Autism up during our Holiday Light display this year. Because of all of you we were able to raise $480.00. You truly did a wonderful thing. Your generosity will benefit the families afflicted with Autism

Wishing you all Happy New Year!

And an additional thank you from me as well for taking the time to read my blog and deciding to help a neighbor who’s trying to make the world a little bit better place.

Hoping your new year has been a great one so far!

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Those $%#*@!& leaves!

2 Jan

Pile of autumn maple colored leaves isolated on white background.

If you’re a homeowner like I am, chances are very good that sometime in the last month you had a conversation with someone about leaves.

This was an awful fall for leaves. It was so rainy and snowy that it was almost impossible to get all the leaves raked up and pushed to the curb in time for the town trucks to pick them up. So if they’re still hanging out in piles at your curb, it’s easy to be angry at the town. But, as Supervisor Nesbitt reminded us in his most recent column, the town workers did the best they could, given the circumstances.

He wrote,

This year has been the worse year for leaf pick-up in my 24 years as being a Town Board member. I cannot remember a year where the Highway Department put out leaf equipment and they switched to snow plow equipment and vice versa as many times as this year.

The town tried very hard through social media to keep Webster residents informed about our pick-up schedule and when the Highway would get to various streets. With the 36 miles of town roads it was not always an exact date, but we tried our best.

I have received some phone calls that leaves are still out to the curb and residents would like them picked up. Most of these leaves were put out by contractors, who were also behind on their routes, after the town crews had winterized the vacuum equipment and put it away for the year. We will not be picking these leaves up.

Bottom line, if you still have leaves, you’re going to need to bag them. Your trash hauler is required to take the bags, although they may limit the number of bags each week, so check with them. (For example, our trash hauler, Suburban, will only accept eight every week, which means that we’re still putting some at the curb every Tuesday night.)

Sandbar Park update

The supervisor had another bit of interesting news in his column.

On Wednesday January 23, a committee working on improvements to Sandbar Park will hold a public information meeting in the Town Board Meeting Room.

The Project Committee and representatives of Bayer Landscape Architecture will be on hand to present the designs they’ve come up with so far and to answer questions. The meeting time has not yet been announced; watch the Webster Herald or Town Board website for more details.

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WVFD firefighters offer a holiday greeting

27 Dec

WVFD1

You  may have been reading and seeing stories lately about how local first responders have been gathering every week this month to “say goodnight” to the children at Golisano Children’s Hospital. They line their trucks all along Crittenden Blvd., turn on all their emergency lights and stand atop the vehicles waving to all the children looking down from the hospital’s top floors.

Yesterday our very own Webster Volunteer Fire Department participated in the heartwarming event, the last time it would happen this month.

Here are a few photos from the evening, and you can visit the WVFD Facebook page check out some videos.

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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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Don’t miss this holiday light display

10 Dec

house

If you and your family like traveling around the neighborhoods during the holidays to see the different Christmas light displays, read on, because I want to tell you about one that you shouldn’t miss.

It’s at the home of Charlie and Cora Venishel, 100 Henderson Drive in Penfield (across from the library and Penfield Recreation Center).  For years, in addition to an incredible front and back-yard light display, the Venishels hosted a magical Christmas town inside their home, with a gingerbread house toy shop, miniature villages, hundreds of nutcrackers, electric trains, exquisitely decorated dining rooms, and more. For a small donation to the Ronald McDonald House Charities, families could enjoy the front yard decorations, tour the village, then wander out into the backyard where thousands more lights twinkled. (Click here to read the D&C column I wrote about it.)

The couple hosted the event for ten years, raising more than $30,000 for Ronald McDonald House. After the 2015 season, they decided to hand off the villages to their children. But they’ve continued to set up their amazing front yard display in the years since, and have added something new every year.

Visitors will see all varieties of Christmas trees, trumpeting angels, icicles, lighted walkways, huge “Season’s Greetings” sign on the roof, Santa’s mailbox, and an Ice Princess’ castle, all illuminated with somewhere around 25,000 twinkling lights. There are also giant candy canes and life-sized snowman, and an antique, refurbished sleigh with Santa and Mrs. Claus, led by eight reindeer (and Rudolph, of course).

Like many private home Christmas light displays, the effect is breathtaking. But what’s different is the Venishels’ continued commitment to helping others. They’re encouraging visitors to help them raise money for AutismUp, a local organization dedicated to supporting those with autism spectrum disorder. They’ve put a mailbox at the end of the driveway for anyone who might like to drop in a dollar or two for the cause.

So make sure to stop by the Venishels’ display, 100 Henderson Drive. Park for a bit and actually wander down the sidewalk to the Ice Princess’ castle. Then tuck a few bucks into the mailbox before you leave. It’s a great way to share the joy and love of the holiday season.

 

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Rec Cross has announced a severe need for blood. Here’s how you can help

24 Nov

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

A blood drive being held today (Saturday) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Webster Schroeder High School honors the memory of Schroeder graduate Colin Montesano, who passed away suddenly last year at just 21 years old.

colinColin 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.

Here are the details of today’s drive:

Blood Drive in honor of Colin Montesano
Saturday, November 24, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Webster Schroeder High School
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 several other local opportunities coming up in the next several weeks:

  • Fairport/Webster Elks Lodge, 1066 Jackson Rd., Webster: Thursday Nov. 29, from 3 to 7 p.m.
  • St. Martin’s Lutheran Church, 813 Bay Rd., Webster: Tuesday Dec. 11 from 1 to 6 p.m.
  • Webster Knights of Columbus, 70 Barrett Drive: Wednesday Dec. 12 from 1 to 7 pm.
  • Kent Park Arboretum, 1700 Schlegel Rd., Webster: Thursday Dec. 20 from 2 to 7 p.m.
  • Visiting Nurse Service, 2180 Empire Blvd., Webster: Friday Dec. 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Dunkin Donuts, 2100 Empire Blvd., Webster: Sat. Dec. 22 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Penfield Community Center, 1985 Baird Rd.: Friday Dec. 21 from 1 to 6 p.m.

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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Webster community mailbag

14 Nov

Santa is beginning to make his rounds!

santa St. Martin

Santa got a little story time help at last year’s St. Martin Christmas party.

Generally one of the first times we see him in Webster is at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church for their holiday party, and this year is no different.

On Friday night November 30, Santa will arrive by fire truck at St. Martin’s, 813 Bay Road in Webster, at about 6 p.m. Then he’ll settle into the church’s community room in his big Santa chair until 8 p.m. where he’ll chat with the children, read a story, and be available for photos with both children AND adults.

Other activities that evening will include cookie decorating, Christmas bingo, making a reverse Advent calendar and presentation of the Christmas Story. Free pizza nd beverages will also be provided.

There’s no charge for this great holiday event, but please bring a canned food item.

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The First Baptist Church of Penfield’s next Saturday Flapjack Breakfast is scheduled for November 17 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 Penfield Ecumenical Food Shelf, a supplemental food relief organization serving the 14526 and 14625 areas and families of children in the Penfield school district since 1997.

Donations of stuffing packages will be gratefully accepted for holiday meals as well. And make sure to mark your calendars for the next flapjack breakfast on December 15 — word is that a special visitor from up north might just stop in!

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Here’s a quick follow up and some adorable photos from the spaghetti fundraiser dinner held at the Webster-Fairport Elks Lodge on November 3 to benefit little Liam Goggins.

Liam, who’s just a little over one year old, has been struggling with severe health problems. On his first birthday, he stopped breathing, and was ultimately diagnosed with a congenital heart problem. Doctors inserted a mechanical valve, which will need replacement one or two more times as he grows.

The dinner, which was held to help offset his family’s medical costs, was a great success, selling 276 tickets. So many friends, family members came together to help little Liam.

The Goggins family would like to thank community members who supported the event, and the many local businesses, friends and even strangers who donated cash, goods and raffle items.

Here are a few photos from the evening, courtesy Kathy Beltrone:

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Adopt a family this holiday

7 Nov

hope ministry

HOPE Ministry in Webster, our town’s only food cupboard, is asking our very generous local community to help them out this holiday season by “adopting” a family.

HOPE Ministry provides Christmas every year for more than 100 families in Webster. Through their program, individuals, families, organizations and businesses can adopt a family by providing at least two gifts per child (you will get some suggestions provided by the families) and if possible, also provide food for a Christmas dinner and/or gift cards with which the family can purchase food. The family’s wish list will be sent to you along with other details.

Items are needed by Wednesday, December 12, so if you’re interested in helping out you should contact Hope Ministry ASAP so you have plenty of time to shop and gather the gifts.

For more information or to sign up, contact Chris at shrtstp701@aol.com or call HOPE Ministry at 265-6694.

HOPE Ministry is located at 1450 Ridge Road, Webster. Even if you can’t adopt a family, please consider donating toiletries, diapers in sizes 4-6, laundry and dish detergent, because those items are always needed.

Check out HOPE Ministry on Facebook here.

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Local laxer Dick Baran inducted into Hall of Fame

5 Nov
dick baran

Dick Baran making his acceptance speech Friday night.

Dick Baran, Long-time Webster lacrosse player, coach and all-around cheerleader, was recognized for his dedication to the sport Friday night when he was inducted into the Greater Rochester Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

Known affectionately as the “Box-Father,” Baran is the prime designer and fund-raiser  of the “box” for small-sided lacrosse at Ridgecrest Park in Webster, and one of the leading promoters of the Webster Lacrosse Club.

The induction ceremony was hosted by the Rochester Chapter of US Lacrosse at the Burgundy Basin Inn. The 2018 class includes five individuals and two teams.

The Boys’ Lacrosse Section V website has this to say about Baran:

Dick Baran is a long-time lacrosse proponent, having served the Webster community for many years. In the 1990s he helped to secure funds for “after school at the box.” He organized trips to see college games at Syracuse University, where his charges would meet with Roy Simmons Jr. and tour the locker room facilities. More recently he has served a director of the Webster Micro-lacrosse program and in 2001 was named Citizen of the Year.

Baran is be the seventh Webster laxer to be honored by the local chapter. Also inducted on Friday night were Andrew Copelan, a stand-out Pittsford high school player and award-winning college coach; Terry Cotten, life-long Victor resident and three-sport athlete who continues to play in adult leagues; Canandaigua Academy head lacrosse coach Ed Mulheron; Brighton player, college coach and Team USA member Danielle Spencer; The 2009 Canandaigua Boys’ Varsity Team; and the 2004 Penn Yan Girls’ Varsity Team.

box father

Dick Baran (in the orange shorts) on the lacrosse field with some of his young players.

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What did YOU do this weekend?

15 Oct

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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.

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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.

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