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There are fairies among us!

4 Jan

Bet you didn’t know … the field behind State Rd. Elementary School is home to more than two dozen fairies.  

It’s true! They live in 26 miniature fairy houses installed along a more than 3/4-mile path that begins near the school’s back door and stretches all along the wooded area that rings the rear of the property. And to be clear, we THINK fairies live in the houses, because no one’s ever seen them. But lots of folks — families and students — still walk the path regularly in hopes of catching a glimpse of the secretive sprites.

The idea to make the fairy trail came from State Rd. kindergarten teacher Jacquie Smith, who for the last eight years has created a very magical “Fairy Day” for her students. It’s part of an entire fairytale unit, and Smith finds ways to work in science, literacy, mathematics, art, even music. Then on one very special day, she transforms her kindergarten classroom into a magical wonderland, complete with twinkly lights, fairy jars, fairy dust, fairy music, fairy wands and fairy stories.

Smith would also take her students to Tinker Nature Park every year to hike the park’s fairy trail and complete a scavenger hunt. It was a highlight for students and parents alike, so when the park’s staff decided to remove the houses in March 2019, everyone was upset.  

That’s when Smith came up with the idea to make their own fairy trail, using the alphabet trail that already existed behind the school. The trail already had 26 lettered posts; all they needed were fairy houses. 

With full support from the administration, Smith got to work. First, an amazing parent, Brian Roode, built 26 creative and whimsical fairy houses. Then on one extra special day, during the lunch hours, every student in the school had a chance to help decorate the houses by painting them or adding decorations. 

The houses were installed on the posts in June 2019, and Smith organized a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the new fairy trail. It was a big deal. Former WCSD Superintendent Carm Gumina even donned a pair of fairy wings for the event. Still, Smith wasn’t sure anyone aside from the other kindergarten classes would come.    

“I offered it to the whole school as an optional activity,” she said. “I didn’t want to throw too much more on their plate at the end of the year.” So she was rather surprised when, at the appointed time, every single class came out to watch the ceremony.

It was “the most overwhelming thing,” she remembered.

Two and a half years later, the State Rd. Elementary School Fairy Trail is still there, although a few of the posts need occasional repair due to wind and heavy rains. It’s still an enchanted place, especially for all the innocent new kindergarteners who walk through the school’s front doors every September.

“I love teaching kindergarten because of the magic in here,” Smith said. “They bring the magic into the classroom. They believe and it makes everything else go away.”

One story in particular is a perfect illustration.

“I had one student come in the day after they took their fairy gardens home, and he looked absolutely exhausted,” she said. “He said, ‘Mrs. Smith, I stayed up watching my fairy garden outside to see if there was a fairy.’ And he starts crying. ‘I tried to watch all night and the fairy never came.'”

“I asked him, Buddy, you know the magic of fairies. Did you ever see the tooth fairy? No? That’s because they only come when we’re away or asleep and they leave us hints of magic. So you need to go home and see if you find any hints of the magic.”

When the little boy returned to school the next day, he looked much more rested and cheerful. He reported that he’d found a small speckled stone by the fairy garden. He was convinced it was a hint of magic.

Like that little boy, we should all look for those hints of magic in our lives every day.

Here are photos of a few more of the fairy houses on the trail:

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Looking back at the year in blogs

31 Dec

As another challenging year comes to a close, I took a moment the other day to look back through all the blogs I wrote in 2021. It was a fun tour and I was a little surprised by the sheer number: 248. I really thought there’d be fewer than that, given that we were still dealing with the pandemic, schools were still ratcheting up from remote learning and many regularly-scheduled special events were scaled back or postponed entirely.

But it turns out I still had a lot to write about. For that matter, the largest percentage of those blogs were about special events that continued to be held despite COVID, or returned this year after being put on hold in 2020. They included Village events like the Trick-or-Treat Trail, White Christmas, the Family Games nights, Beer Walk, and the holiday summer parade. But several other Webster events also got my attention, including the St. Rita Fiesta, Waterfront Art Festival and the XRX Radio Club Field Day.

I wrote a lot about businesses, especially highlighting the new ones that opened this year despite the pandemic. And there were several of them: Whimsies, Crafty Christy’s Boutique, Village HandWorks, Cobblestone on Main, Polar Freeze, To the Core Pilates and Nourished. I wrote about the new owners at Diamond Collsion, yoga classes at Welch’s Greenhouses and anniversary parties at my two favorite pubs, Barry’s and Knucklehead. I lamented the passing of The Music Store, and explored a long-time village business, Village Mall Video, for the first time.

I spread positive news from our schools about the Webster Marching Band’s Autumn Fanfare and State Championship; the schools’ musicals and dramas, Plank North and Schlegel Elementary Schools’ Tour Around the Lakes; and the creative ways the PTSA found to help the Class of 2021 feel special.

I highlighted local organizations that create the fabric of our community (most of them several times), including the Chorus of the Genesee, Webster Museum, Webster Public Library, Friends of Webster Trails, Miracle Field, the Webster Theater Guild and Bella’s Bumbas.

Then there were all those blogs which I can only characterize as snippets from small-town life, the kinds of simple things and wonderful people that make living in Webster special.

I shared photos of many of our village’s beautiful gardens, charming village porches and Christmas decorations. I told stories about neighbors helping neighbors: the Curtice Park homeowner who hosted a COVID-friendly Easter scavenger hunt for kids; a porch concert on Park Ave.; and the kind person who’s created a wild animal sanctuary on the Hojack Trail. I especially liked giving shout-outs to kids doing great things, like the young artists who created a chalk garden on Baker Street, and the six-year old who sold lemonade on South Ave. to benefit St. Jude’s.

I’ve met many wonderful people through this blog, and shared many of their stories with you. Like “Webster’s Mrs. Claus,” Florence Kinney; Brandon Schafer, the “North Ave. Artist”; and the new director of the Webster Library, Adam Traub.

Finally, I shared some personal stories, and wrote others just for fun (like the recent one about the hit-and-run at the Irondequoit Rec Center).

I got a proclamation for outstanding community service from the Town of Webster in August, and displayed many of my blog photos at the Webster Public Library. I shared both of those accomplishments with you all. I introduced a new website, Afterthoughts, and a few enhancements to my Webster on the Web site, links to local services and a village directory.

And finally, there were the mysteries you worked through with me: Who lost that GoPro in the lake? Who WAS James Carnavale? Who was that man who painted the Holt Rd. sign?


I know a lot of you are still reading this blog, three or more page scrolls down from where it began. I know that because you are the folks who’ve been with me all year.

You’re the reason I write this blog. Because even though I enjoy doing this, it would get pretty old if I thought my words weren’t making a difference.

So thank you all for being faithful readers. I wish you all a very happy, healthy and successful 2022, and I look forward to continuing to spread good news from our hometown.

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Webster community mailbag

9 Dec

Some of these “mailbag” items today didn’t actually come through the mail. I found out about them by scrolling through webpages or just saw them when I was out and about in the village.

Take this donation opportunity, for example, which I especially want to point out to patrons of Barry’s Old School Irish. A couple of regular patrons thre are very involved with the Father Laurence Tracy Advocacy Center on North Clinton Ave., a non-profit organization dedicated to providing advocacy services for the residents of the North Clinton neighborhood.

The box propped up on the windowsill in Barry’s musicians’ corner (“Kenny’s Corner,” for those of you REALLY regular customers). Patrons are invited to donate warm socks, hats, gloves, mittens and handwarmers for distribution to those the Father Tracy Center serves.

I’m told that last year the donation box was set up at Mama Lor’s, and it was overflowing. Let’s show them how our Barry’s Family and Webster Village community can do that as well.

Barry’s — and the box — are located at 2 West Main St.

Do you know a great teacher who deserves to get some extra special recognition? How about nominating him or her for an Oak Tree Award?

Co-Sponsored by the Webster Teachers’ Association and the Webster Central PTSA, the Oak Tree Award recognition program is an annual award designed to recognize teacher excellence in Webster CSD schools by honoring an educator from the elementary and the secondary levels. 

Any Webster resident or district employee, current or former student, parent, teacher, or administrative colleague may nominate a teacher for the Elementary or Secondary Teacher of the Year Oak Tree Award. Educators include: UPK-12 teachers, special educators, literacy specialists, school counselors, librarians/media specialists, school psychologists, school social workers, speech and language teachers, occupational therapists, and physical therapists. 

Award nominees must meet the following criteria:

  • Currently teaching in a full-time position in Webster Central School
  • Have a minimum of 5 years teaching experience in Webster Central Schools
  • Plan to continue to teach the next school year in, or retire from Webster Central Schools
  • Be a member of both the Webster Central PTSA and the Webster Teachers’ Association

Nominations are due by February 1, 2022. Click here For more information and a link to the nomination form.  

Webster’s next two blood donation opportunities are coming up next week.

On Tuesday Dec. 14, St. Martin’s Lutheran Church will sponsor a drive at the church, 813 Bay Rd., from 1 to 6 p.m.

Then the next day, Wednesday Dec. 15, a drive will be held at the Webster Firemen’s Building, 172 Sanford St. (at the south end of Firemen’s Field) from 1 to 7 p.m.

The Red Cross has a great promotion going on right now, too. Donate at either one of these drives and get a $10 Amazon gift card emailed to you. Click here to make an appointment.

A few notes from the musical guys of the Chorus of the Genesee. They’ll be performing at Eastview Mall in front of J C. Penney’s on Tuesday Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. This would be a fun time to get some Christmas shopping done.

I can’t make it to that, but I will definitely be taking part in the Chorus’ annual Soup and Caroling Night on Tuesday Dec. 21, beginning at 7 p.m.

For those of you not familiar with this event, here’s what I wrote about my experience a few years ago:

The Chorus has been hosting this evening of caroling for at least 24 years. There were also a whole lot more people at this event. I counted about 60 men, women, children and dogs. I was told that it was more than double what the Chorus usually draws. It helped, I think, that the weather was pretty pleasant.

Everyone gathered at the Harmony House, enjoying coffee and cookies, sheets of music and Santa hats were handed out, and when 7 p.m. rolled around, everyone filed out into the street.

The first stop, as it has been every year, was Webster Eyecare Associates, which is pretty much across the street from the Harmony House. The folks there have come to expect this annual visit by the Chorus carolers, and this year — for the first time — had donut holes and hot chocolate for the chilly singers.

I’m really looking forward to this, as I always do. I can’t say that I did a great job singing last time, but no one could hear me because the Chorus’ beautiful voices pretty much took center stage. But I did have some delicious soup and the company was grand.

This is the kind of thing that really makes our village special, and I encourage everyone to come out and enjoy.

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Webster Marching Band honored

2 Dec

Four weeks ago, the Webster Marching Band did something the disctrict’s band hadn’t accomplished in more than 30 years. On Oct. 31 at the Carrier Dome, the Pride of Webster blew away the competition and took home the title of State Champion of the Large School 2 Division. (Click here to read the blog I wrote about that.)

On Wednesday Dec. 1, the band was honored for that outstanding achievement with both an official proclamation from the New York State Assembly, and citations from the New York State Senate.

The ceremony, held in the Schroeder High School auditorium, was short but meaningful for the more than 100 band members, parents and staff who attended.

After a welcome message from Webster CSD Superintendent Brian Neenan, the band’s student and staff members were invited to the podium to accept personal congratulations from Supt. Neenan and Sen. Pam Helming, who presented each with a citation following the ceremony.

In her remarks, Sen. Helming recalled her own experience playing an instrument in high school, and remined everyone that among all the extracurriculars students can choose in school, “Band is one of the longest seasons there is. “You start in the spring…then parade season in the summer, then the fall, those intense competitions. It’s a long, long season.”

Next, Iris Bieri, chief of staff for NYS Assemblymember Jen Lunsford, came to the podium to present an official proclamation (which you can read at the end of this blog). She reiterated Sen. Helming’s remarks about the kind of commitment it takes to be a marching band member, saying,

It’s a tremendous feat and I think you should be proud it’s been so long. But on top of it you won at a time of extreme difficulty in our community, our state, our country, our world. You persevered through a global pandemic. You were dedicated, you worked together, you practiced day in and day out and you overcame the odds at a particularly challenging time. So I wanted to acknowledge that not only were you the first team in Webster to win in over 30 years, but in a particularly challenging time as well. 

Finally, Webster Marching Band Director Jerbrel Bowens approached the microphone, to a standing ovation. He, too, remembered his high school days, when he was a band member for Webster Schroeder.

He said,

I remember sitting in this exact room, in those exact seats which feels like forever ago, 2011, and I had the same dream that all of you had as a marching band member, and that is to win our class. I think there’s been many students sitting in these seats in this same room with that same dream, and you should feel extremely proud of yourself for accomplishing something that 30 years of students and staff have always wanted to achieve.

It’s bigger than you think it is. 

Bowens also put in a plug for his staff members and the parent booster organization which has supported the band 24/7.  

I asked him why he thought this year was different from his first year as director in 2019. What was it that launched the band into first place in 2021?

He thought that, having to take 2020 off due to COVID, he had the time to design a program tailored specifically for this year’s students. But I suspect there was something less tangible in the mix, judging from a comment he made to Supt. Neenan back in October.

“It was after the Autumn Fanfare,” Neenan said. “Jerbrel and I were talking and Jerbrel said to me, ‘I have a good feeling about this group.'” He was so right.

The trophy and proclamation will be displayed somewhere in the district. The proclamation can be hung permanently, but the trophy has to be shared; each year’s winning school can keep it only until the following year’s competition. Unless they win it again, of course.

And they will.

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Below is the text of the proclamation:

It read….

Whereas in 1983 band director Paul Magin created the Webster Marching Band, which only participated in parades in its early years; and

Whereas the band is made up of seventh through twelfth grade students, all of whom come from the four secondary buildings in the Webster Central School District; and

Whereas the band competed in its first NYSFBC competition in 1985 and has participated annually ever since; and 

Whereas the band has also participated in several national championships, where it has been a finalist amongst some of the top bands in the country; and 

Whereas in 2011 the band members were named grand champions of the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida, and

Whereas in 2021, for the first time in 31 years, the Webster Marching Band brought home the NYSFBC championship plaque as well as their division’s Governor’s Cup; and now, therefore, be it

Proclaimed that I, Assemblymember Jen Lunsford, do hereby honor the Webster Marching Band for their strong work ethic and well-earned victory in the 2021 NYSCFB competition. 

Webster Marching Band is #1 in the state!

2 Nov

This is why they’re called “The Pride of Webster.”

On Saturday, our very own Webster Marching Band blew away the competition at this year’s state championships, held at the Carrier Dome, earning the title of State Champion of the Large School 2 Division. It’s the first time the band has held the title in more than 30 years.

The band competed against eight other schools in their LS2 division, who attended from all over the state. At the end of the day, only 11 points separated the nine schools. But Webster stood alone at the top, with 90.8 points, a full 1.7 points ahead of second-place West Seneca. 

It was a very satisfying end to a VERY long day for the band members and their parent helpers.  

“Championship day is a FULL day,” wrote Band Director Jerbrel Owens. “We start early in the morning with a hearty breakfast and we then take the long drive to Syracuse. We are on a tight schedule so the students need to move quickly, warm-up, and move again until it’s our time to enter the Carrier Dome.” 

Bowens, himself a Webster grad and former Marching Band member, wrote the winning program, called “Unbroken.” 

Writing it was very fun, but most importantly it was written specifically for our students, which makes them successful as well as challenges them a bit. I believe that this is where the success began. We also work closely with a drill writer who wrote the drill just for our students which made it even more successful. We as staff gave them a “vehicle” and the students drove away with it and won!

I am honored to have written this show for them. 

Bowens’ long history with the band made it easier for him to create the perfect program for this year’s musicians and performers.

I marched in this program from 2009 to 2011, and I came back in 2016 to teach the drumline. This year was different. The same kids that were 6th graders when I came back were the student leaders this year, who I believe led their sections to success. All of the students understood the goal, agreed on that goal and achieved that goal.

This is all on the students. When the time starts at each show, it isn’t the staff anymore, it’s all on the kids. They deserve all of the applause for their actions as a TEAM. 

The Webster Marching Band, now in its 36th season, is made up of 66 student musicians and performers drawn from all four Webster secondary schools: Spry Middle School, Willink Middle School, Webster Schroeder High School, and Webster Thomas High School. Each band season begins with extensive training in the spring, followed by the summer parade season, and finally an eight-week competitive season. The band participated in six competitions this year, and not only did the Pride of Webster win every single one of them (also an historical achievement), they improved their score every week. Breaking the 90 barrier was a fitting end to an outstanding season.

After the performance, the band’s seniors and drum major assembled on the field with the other bands to hear the scores and receive their award. They were welcomed home on Halloween evening with a Webster police and fire department escort to celebrate their championship.

Congratulations to the all of the Webster Marching Band musicians and performers. Your hard work payed off big time. You truly do make Webster proud.

For more coverage of this great accomplishment, check out this video from Channel 8 WROC-TV.

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Webster community mailbag

27 Oct

Halloween is just a few days away, which means that Christmas is just around the corner. The Webster Museum is getting ready.

The Museum recently announced that their Festival of Trees will return this year in person. Last year’s virtual, photographic festival was okay, but it just wasn’t the same as being able to stroll through the museum and see all of the creatively decorated contestants up close and personal.

Here are the details:

  • Families, individuals, Scout troops, classrooms, clubs, organizations, ALL are invited to decorate a miniature Christmas tree using a family-friendly theme.
  • The trees are provided by the museum.
  • Decorating takes place after Thanksgiving and voting begins during White Christmas in the Village on Dec. 4.
  • Trees will be registered to callers starting at noon on November 1. Please call Kathy at 313-3709 and leave a message with your name and phone number so your call can be returned. Call early as number of trees is limited. Please be prepared to supply: caller’s name, email and phone number; decorator’s name, email and phone number; any special needs (location, lights, etc.) You’ll receive a follow-up email about dates/times to decorate.

The Webster Central School District has announced that Interim Superintendent of Schools Brian Neenan has accepted the position as Webster CSD’s new superintendent of schools. The board of education will officially approve the appointment at its Tuesday, Nov. 2 meeting. 

Neenan served as interim superintendent of schools since April 30, 2021. Prior to that appointment, Neenan worked in a dual role as WCSD’s deputy superintendent (2015-2021) and assistant superintendent for instruction (2013-2021). He began his career in Webster as principal of Willink Middle School (2009-2013). Before coming to Webster, he served as an assistant principal at Victor CSD’s junior high school for four years.  

The Webster Recreation Center is hosting a Halloween-themed fitness event this Saturday morning, and everyone is invited regardless of fitness level or Rec Center membership.

The HIGH Fitness class will run from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., and participants are encouraged to wear costumes (although they’re not required). There will be drawings for prizes at the end of the class.

HIGH Fitness is a modern-day choreographed aerobics class that combines cardio peaks, toning tracks, and popular music. Athletic shoes are required and all fitness levels are welcome. The Webster Recreation Center is the only facility in Wester New York that currently offers HIGH Fitness.

No registration is required and Rec Center members and non-members are all welcome.  The Webster Recreation Center is located at 1350 Chiyoda Dr., off of Phillips Rd.

This news also from the Webster Museum about their current exhibit, which is being held in conjunction with the Webster Public Library.

Webster Museum’s Exhibit Committee has curated an exhibit called “Living off the Land.” Artifacts from the museum’s extensive collections, many of them donated by Webster residents, are on display both in the museum’s display case at the Webster Library and at the Webster Museum. The exhibit tells the story of folks who settled here and the items they brought, made or invented in order to make a life for themselves and their families.

The Webster Museum, 18 Lapham Park in the village, is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 2 to 4:30 pm.

And as long as we’re talking about the library, I just got word about three great adult programs coming up soon.

  • Thursday Nov. 4, 7 to 8 p.m. — Discovering Your Roots: an introduction to genealogy and planning a geneaology vacation.
  • Wednesday Nov. 10, noon: Medicare 101, an introduction and update to the federally administered health insurance program
  • Wednesday Nov. 10, 7 to 8 p.m. — Dream Cakes Cookie Decorating: learn some decorating tips and tricks and amaze your friends and family

Pre-registration is required and there is a $10 charge for the cookie decorating class. Click on the images below for more information.

Finally, a few newsy notes from our neighbor to the south.

Annual Arts and Craft Fair at Penfield Community Center

The Daytime Education at Recreation (DEAR) program at Penfield Recreation will be hosting its second annual Arts and Craft Fair on Saturday Nov. 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Penfield Community Center, 1985 Baird Rd.

This event will showcase 53 vendors from around Monroe County selling their hand-crafted wares. Admission is free and is open to the public. Masks are required for this indoor event. Refreshments will be available.

This event is a fundraiser to support the DEAR program at Penfield Recreation, which provides free life-long learning opportunities to seniors in our community.

For more information call Penfield Recreation at (585) 340-8655, option 0.

Penfield Ecumenical Food Shelf needs turkeys

Once again this year, the Penfield Ecumenical Food Shelf will be collecting frozen turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

Food Shelf staff are especially requesting turkeys from 8 to 14 lbs., which are the best sizes for their families in need.

Drop off for Thanksgiving will be Saturday morning Nov. 20 between 7:30 and 8:30am at the Food Shelf, 1618 Jackson Rd. Drop off for Christmas will be Saturday Dec. 18 from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., also at the Food Shelf. If other arrangements are needed for dropoff, email

Turkeys will soon be on sale at local grocery stores, so this would be a great time to pick up an extra one and help those in our community who have been hit especially hard by the pandemic. The Food Shelf’s family numbers have increased quite a bit this year, as you can imagine; they’re planning on providing 225 families with dinner for each holiday.

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Webster community mailbag

19 Oct

Get your flu shot HERE! TODAY!

The Webster Public Library is hosting a flu shot clinic TODAY, Tuesday Oct. 19 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the library, 980 Ridge Rd. All vaccinations will be administered by a registered nurse, and no appointment is necessary. Please remember to bring your insurance card!

Registration is not necessary.

Pumpkins on Parade is this weekend!

The Webster Recreation Center’s second annual Pumpkins on Parade is this Saturday night.

This is an amazing, family-friendly Halloween-time event, when the Chiyoda Trail is lined with creative, scary, and downright funny Jack-o-lanterns. Community members and businesses are invited — no, encouraged — to carve up some pumpkins, and then bring the family that evening after dark to look for them along the mile-long trail which winds around the Rec Center. Afterwards, everyone gets free donuts and cider.

Community members are invited to come and walk the trail from 7 to 8:30 p.m. This year there’s also a shortened path option for seniors and small children.

There’s still time to carve a pumpkin (or several pumpkins) for the trail. The more the merrier! Drop your finished creations off at the Rec Center Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. or Saturday between noon and 2 p.m. For every pumpkin you deliver, you get a raffle ticket for a chance to win a fun prize.

The Rec Center is at 1350 Chiyoda Drive (right off of Phillips Rd.).

UPK-5 Parent-Teacher Conferences to Span Four Days

A reminder to parents that Webster’s UPK to grade 5 students will have parent-teacher conferences this week and next.

All seven elementary schools will host conferences over four days: Thursday Oct. 21, Friday Oct. 22, Thursday Oct. 28 and Friday Oct. 29. This means a half-day schedule for UPK-5 students. Students in grades 6-12 have their normal, full-day schedule.

Elementary parents/guardians, please watch your school newsletters for the bus schedules. UPK families, individual schedules will be communicated by your child’s teacher.

Got drugs?

It’s time to clean out your medicine cabinet and get rid of all of those expired and unused pharmaceuticals that have been hanging around for years. You especially want to do this if you still have children at home; the statistics about children abusing prescription drugs and overdosing are frightening, and much of that is happening because they can often easily find these drugs in their own bathrooms.

WHEN, the Webster Health and Education Network, is joining forces with the Webster Police Dept. to sponsor an event this weekend to make it easy for you to clean out your cabinets. It’s the Fall Drug Drop-off on Saturday Oct. 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Webster Wastewater Treatment Facility, 226 Phillips Rd.

Please note that needles, sharps, syringes, and biohazards CANNOT be accepted; only pills, liquids, and ointments. No appointment is necessary. Registration is not required, but it will allow the organizers to email you a reminder in advance of the event.

To sign up, click here.

And remember, there’s a pharmaceutical drop-box at Town Hall, 1000 Ridge Rd., just inside the doors to the police station, where you can drop off your unused pharmaceuticals any weekday during regular business hours.   

Visit the Village Quilt Shoppe yet?

If not, here’s a great excuse to do so.

The Village Quilt Shoppe, 21 E. Main St. in the Village of Webster, has announced they’ll be hosting their Holiday Open House on Friday Nov. 12. They’ll be demonstrating how to craft a quick and easy holiday ornament, will have their famous Hot Chocolate Bar set up, and have cookies and gift ideas for all.

The Open House will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the demo will take place on the hour, every hour.

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One Webster community comes together to help others

17 Oct

The Webster Central PTSA and the Webster Teachers Association (WTA) will be joining forces this year for the 2021 Concert Apparel and Winter Coat Drive.

Organizers are asking for donations of gently used concert attire (white dress tops, black dress bottoms and black ties) and gently used winter coats of any size, which will then be offered to other families who could really use them. This is a great chance to clean out your closets, get rid of that old concert stuff you bought for the kids two years ago, and make room for some new winter gear.

The PTSA has placed large bags in the main office of every school in the district, where families can drop their donations. WTA president Chris Wojtas has gotten the teachers on board as well, asking them to donate winter coats. This is the fourth year the PTSA has held this drive, and with the additional help from the teachers, they expect it to be the best one yet.

Donated items will be available free to anyone who needs them, on the “shopping day,” Saturday Oct. 23. PTSA will have tables set up at the Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Look for the tables outside (weather permitting) or just inside the lobby doors.

You do NOT have to donate an item to take an item (did I mention they’re FREE?) Any leftover items will be taken to the clothes closet at Schlegel Elementary School and/or to HOPE House in Webster.

Families have until Friday Oct. 22 to donate their items, or you can even bring them to the “shopping” day.

In years past, this event was greatly appreciated by many, who were grateful to go home with some free concert clothes or winter jackets. This year especially, with so many families facing financial harships due to COVID, this is a heartwarming way for the greater One Webster community to come together in support.

FOOTNOTE: The “shopping” day is the same day that Webster Parks and Rec is accepting jack-o-lanterns for their Pumpkins on Parade luminary event that evening. So make a pumpkin, drop it off, and do some shopping, all at the same time!

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Webster community mailbag

14 Oct

Some news from the Webster Public Library to start out this week’s mailbag.

The Artist’s Wall display this month highlights the Greater Rochester Peep Show, an annual fund-raising event which benefits the Webster Community Chest and other participating charities.

The event features hundreds of whimsical and creative works of art made almost entirely of Peeps marshmallow candies. Next time you’re at the library, stop by the wall to read more about the event and see photos of some of the entries from previous years.

Two very interesting programs are coming up just for adults:

On Tuesday Oct. 19, Webster resident Rosemarie Cook-Manley will present a travelogue from her recent trip to Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia national parks. The program will run from 2 to 3 p.m. Click here to register.

Then on Wednesday Oct. 20 from 3 to 4 p.m., Webster Museum president Tom Pellett will present a program on Civil War Veterans of the Five Webster Cemeteries. Click here to register for that one. Space is limited.

Other events coming up this month at the library:

  • Monday Oct. 18: Make it Monday, from 6 to 7 p.m., a craft night for adults and kids grades 4 and up. This month’s craft is a DIY Sharpie mug.
  • Tuesday Oct. 26: Spooky Storytime from 10 to 10:30 a.m. Feel free to wear your Halloween costume.
  • Friday Oct. 29: After-hours Halloween Party for grades 4 to 12, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Features snacks, crafts, games, a costume contest and more.
  • Sunday Oct, 31: Library Trick-or Treat Night, for the whole family. Slots are available between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to trick-or-treat through the library.

For more information about all the programs and to register, visit the “Library Events” tab at the library website. The Webster Public Library is located at 980 Ridge Rd., at the back side of the plaza.

One last reminder about this Saturday’s Webster Village Family Games Night/Beer Garden.

This time the evening will have an Oktoberfest theme, featuring The Krazy Firemen Oktoberfest band. The event begins at 5 p.m. on West Main, with the live music all evening, street games, a dance party with Dancing With Denise, crafts, food and games, and more. It should be a great night to get together with family and friends. There’ll be something for everyone.

St. Martin Lutheran Church on Bay Rd. will host a pulled pork drive-through BBQ on Saturday Oct. 23, from 4:30 until they sell out.

The take-out dinner includes pulled pork, roll, salt potatoes, cole slaw and cookie for just $10. Proceeds will support the church’s annual Christmas Stocking Project reaching over 500 children and teens in Monroe and Wayne counties.

Pull into the parking lot, place your order using exact payment, and the dinner will be delivered to you as you drive up in your car.

St. Martin Lutheran Church is located at 813 Bay Rd.

Here’s a fun note that came from the schools.

Last Friday, Webster Thomas High School Assistant Principal Jeremy McBride and students Jacob Loveland and Jacob Bieg went “Bald for Bucks.” The trio had their heads shaved tor raise money to fight cancer.

Each of the newly bald men has had at least one person they care about affected by cancer, so they decided to raise funds in the fight to eradicate the disease. The donations they collected will be donated to 13thirty Cancer of Rochester and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Here’s a sneak peek at at few things I’m working on (stay tuned!):

  • Yoga at the greehouse
  • Pumpkins on the path
  • A very Irish anniversary
  • Ghouls in the streets
  • Leaves at the curbs

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Once a Titan, always a Titan

9 Oct

Most of you probably know that I retired at the end of last school year, after 20 years as a library teaching assistant.

I should qualify that statement a bit. I officially retired in June, but I’ve already been subbing in various buildings for 14 days. For those who are counting, that’s more than half of the school year so far. Many of the students (and staff members) in my old schools are beginning to look at me with puzzled expressions and asking, “I thought you retired?”

For most of those 14 days, I’ve been helping out in the elementary schools — especially Schlegel Rd. and Plank Rd. North — where I spent the last five years of my district career. But yesterday I filled in as a library teaching assistant at Webster Thomas High School. And I have to say, it felt like coming home.

I spent the first 15 years of my career as a T.A. in the Thomas library, and during my time there I made a lot of good friends. So one of the first things I did yesterday morning when I got to school was take a walk through the halls to see how many teachers’ names, posted over the doors, I still recognized. I was pleased to see that most of my former colleagues are still there, even after all this time. If I saw one of them at his or her desk, I popped my head in to say hi, and was invariably greeted by a big smile and a hearty “welcome back”!

It was a great day to be subbing at Thomas: Pep Rally Day, the rollicking culmination of Homecoming Week. This was always one of my favorite days of the year, when all the students would dress up in their class colors, decorate the halls, and come together at the end of the day for a boisterous, rowdy pep rally.

In previous years the rally took place in the gym, and the noise was deafening. This year for the first time, no doubt in deference to COVID-19, it was held outdoors in the stadium (fortunately the weather was gorgeous). The pep band performed, and mini-contests like Can-Jam and “who can scream the loudest” were played for class points. The noise was still deafening.

It was just like I remembered it. So much fun.

A lot has changed at Thomas in the last five years, most notably the library itself, which got a complete overhaul two years ago. But seeing the students again, walking down those halls again, it felt like I had never left.

It was truly a homecoming.

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