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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
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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.

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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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Bella’s Bumbas gets a boost

24 Sep

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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:

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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.

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

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Images from the Living History Tour

22 Sep

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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.

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First Responders 5K a great success

2 Sep

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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.

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The Village Bakery a welcome addition

17 Aug

 

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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:

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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.

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Webster Thomas girls’ lacrosse alumna

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Happy anniversary, Kittelberger!

8 Aug

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

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