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Plank North students are published

23 May
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Pictured are (left to right) Lucas Hill, Adrianna Fitzharris, Aubrey Hoagland, Colin Raspudic, Max Bolzner, Gabby Fallone, Jimmaly Ortega, Chase Failing, Sabrina Cady, Oktober Haak

Many people dream of becoming published authors. Several students at Plank Road North Elementary School are already there.

Earlier this year, about 15 students in Marcia Napolitano’s fourth grade class entered a creative writing contest sponsored by the Boston-based Young Writers publishing company. The company hosts such contests regularly to boost students’ confidence and showcase talent.

IMG_20180522_111647827Napolitano’s students participated in Young Writers’ “Crazy Creatures” competition, in which they were asked to create a creature of their own invention and then write a story about it using just 100 words.

Ten of the entries were chosen for publication and are now part of a very handsome “Crazy Creatures” book. The published authors all autographed the book, and it’s now on the shelf of the school library for all Plank North staff students and staff members to enjoy.

 

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Back on the blogwagon and heading to a FIESTA!

17 May

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I knew that being Internet-less would not be easy. But being unable to log onto my home computer for five straight days (thank you Frontier) really messed with my mojo a whole lot more than I expected.

I was able to hobble through though, in large part by using my phone’s 4G and friendly Internet hotspots in the village, but it was hard keeping up on my email and blogging.

But I’m back, thanks to a sparkling new Spectrum modem and a higher-speed Internet cable feed. Good thing, because now that summer is approaching, the events are going to come fast and furious.

Let’s start today with a preview of the 64th annual St. Rita Festival, which hits town again Friday and Saturday June 1 and 2.

I love this festival. It’s like a harbinger of summer, and a great inexpensive night out, with the added benefit of supporting a good cause.

Festival highlights include live music by Ruby Shooz and the Breakfast Club, inflatable and adventure rides for the kids, carnival games, a food truck rodeo, gift basket raffles, a book sale, plant sale, and more. And of course you can get into the raffle for $10,000 cash or a one-year lease on a car from Vision Automotive.  Five second chance winners will also go home with Wegmans gift certificates.

Here are some details:

  • Ruby Shooz will play on Friday night from 7 to 10 p.m. and the Breakfast Club on Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. Blankets and chairs are welcome.
  • The festival will introduce a new Car Show and Shine classic car show this year, from 3 to 6 p.m. There’s no charge to register a car or to attend the event.
  • In addition to the food truck rodeo, St. Rita’s famous Friday fish fry and Saturday chicken barbecue dinners will be back. They sell out every year, so get there early.

Admission to the Fiesta is free and parking is onsite, with handicap and shuttle options. For more information about the Fiesta, or to pre-order your discounted passes for unlimited access to the bounce houses, zip lines, and bungee trampoline, click here.

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Webster’s baseball history celebrated at the Webster Museum

13 May

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It’s no secret that Webster is a huge sports town. In 1985, the town was even named “Number 1 Sportstown in New York” by Sports Illustrated. What is less well known is how long ago our love for sports — and especially baseball — began.

Back in the late 1800s, adults and teenagers were playing on village ball fields and at Nine Mile Point; with hard rubber balls fast-pitched underhand; one bat for the entire team; often wearing coats and ties, and with no protective equipment.

It’s a rich baseball history, on display this month at the Webster Museum, and celebrated during a special event on Saturday May 19, called “140 Years of Webster Baseball.”

The special event is being spearheaded by Tom Pellett, president of the Webster Museum and Historical Society.  It’s been a year in the making, prompted by a comment made last May by Don Kuhn, a former Webster High School baseball player.

He recalled that back when he was playing in the early 1950s, the Webster High team went undefeated three years in a row — 1950, ’51 and ’52. The team came up with a trophy to recognize that accomplishment, which was then presented to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. So the town could have its own keepsake, a local service organization (Pellett thinks it was the Rotary) then created a plaque, which included a photo of the trophy, the letter from Cooperstown, and the names of all the players.

No one was exactly sure where that plaque had made it to, but Pellett started poking around the museum’s attic, and found it rather quickly. Shortly thereafter, Historian Lynn Barton unearthed two boxes with a treasure trove of local baseball history. Pellett started going through it all and the exhibit began to take shape.

The newly rediscovered plaque is the centerpiece of the museum’s new baseball exhibit, which also includes photos of all three undefeated teams and several other local teams, and old time uniforms and equipment. But what I found the most interesting were some of the personal stories.

One of those, dated 1878,  is considered to perhaps be the first recorded memory from a local ball game.

That story (which is part of the exhibit) tells about an adult baseball team in Ontario who had challenged the Webster team.  The Ontario team was a little bit miffed when they discovered their opponents were just teenagers. The Ontario coach approached the Webster coach and asked, “Is that all you got, these kids? He was told, ‘Well, trot your team out, we’ll see how they do.'”

At the end of the sixth inning, the score was 40-6 in favor of Webster. The Ontario team walked off the field and forfeited the game.

Obviously, players from that era are no longer around. But everyone who has played Webster baseball has a story, and Pellett hopes that baseball players and fans of all ages will attend the special event on the 19th.

As for all those Webster High School players from the undefeated teams? They’re all in their 80s now. Many have moved away, others have passed away. But several are still in town, and Pellett hopes that some of them will be able to attend, so they can visit the plaque and share some of their memories.

“140 Years of Webster Baseball” will be held on Saturday May 19, from 2-4 p.m. at the Webster Museum, 18 Lapham Park in the village of Webster.  Admission is $5, which will include the very interesting historical presentation, a hot dog, peanuts and a lemonade or water. For more information, visit the Webster Museum website or call 585-265-3308.

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The commemortaive plaque is the centerpiece of the exhibit

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A close-up of the names of the players on the undefeated teams

 

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Webster mailbag

9 May

mailbagA variety of events stuff today’s mailbag. A few of them I have mentioned before, but I want to shine some light on them again as they get very near.

This first event is extremely timely:

This Thursday (May 10), the Willink Eighth Grade Band, under the direction of Matt Osika, will perform alongside the Webster Village Band, under the direction of Thomas Indiano. Each band will perform some selections on their own before combing to perform some of John Williams’ most memorable themes in the Star Wars saga.

The concert begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Willink Middle School cafetorium, and admission is free.

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flowersThe Webster Arboretum’s 18th Annual Plant Sale happens this Saturday May 12, from 8 a.m. to noon at the Arboretum, 1700 Schlegel Road, Webster.

The sale features perennials from standard to uncommon, annuals, dwarf conifers, geraniums, dahlias, various garden club offerings and more. Nice thing about this sale is that these plants are locally grown, so you KNOW they’re going to work in your garden.

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The First Baptist Church of Penfield will hold their last Flapjack Community Breakfast of the season on Saturday  May 19 from 8 to 10 a.m.

Guests will enjoy pancakes, pure maple syrup, scrambled eggs, sausage, and more for just $5.00 per person. All are welcome, and the venue is handicapped accessible.

All May  proceeds will go directly to 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 non-perishable foods and paper products also gratefully accepted.

The First Baptist Church of Penfield is located at 1862 Penfield Rd. For more information, call 585-586-2876.

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Lady golfers, this one is for you.

The Webster Golf Club’s Ladies Association is inviting women golfers to join the fun and sign-up to play in their annual charity golf tournament on Monday June 25, to benefit the Webster Comfort Care Home.

The event will take place on the Webster Golf Course, and will be a non-handicapped, 18-hole shotgun fun scramble.

Registration is $90 per golfer or $360 per foursome, which includes a continental breakfast, box lunch, an hors d’oeuvres reception, gifts for every player, a raffle, win pull and more.

Deadline to sign up is June 1. For more information, to sponsor the event or donate to the silent auction, contact Janet Jones-Brower, Webster Comfort Care Home Executive Director at director@webstercomfortcare.org, or Linda Dorsey at  ddorsey2@rochester.rr.com.

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Spry staff members tackle Pink Ribbon Run

4 May

CaptureThere’s a wonderful bunch of lady runners at Spry Middle School who are working hard to make a difference.

Led by teacher Toni Lynn Swinson, this group of more than 40 women will be taking on the 17th Annual Pink Ribbon Walk & Run on Mother’s Day, to support the Breast Cancer Coalition.

The ladies have been working for weeks, whipping their legs in shape for the 5K, and whipping up donations for their cause.

It’s a scary fact that 1 in 8 women can expect a breast cancer diagnosis in her lifetime. The Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester is a terrific local organization dedicated to fighting this terrible disease and winning. Their advocacy, research, and funds stay right here at home in Rochester, and that includes every penny raised for this race.

That’s where you come in. These  Pink Ribbon Runners need your support to help make their efforts worthwhile. They’ve already raised more than $2,000, but would like to double that — or more.

It’s easy to donate; just click here to log onto their fundraising page. Even a little bit would help.

 

Next year, these ladies might try to make this a One Webster event, and invite lots more staff members to take part. If that happens, you can count me in.

As for this year ladies, if you’re a runner — or even a walker — and would like to join the Spry Pink Ribbon team, drop an email to Tony Lynn Swinson at ToniLynn_Swinson@webstercsd.org. They’d love to have you.

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Spring events have sprung

1 May

HAPPY MAY!

It looks like we’re finally going to get some nice spring weather this week, so perhaps it’s time to come out from hibernation and check out what’s going on around town.

meet the candidates

It’s school-budget-vote time. On May 15, district residents be asked to approve this year’s budget, and the new slate of Board of Education candidates. You can meet the candidates for yourself and pepper them with questions on Tuesday night May 2, at 7 p.m. at Spry Middle School.

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The Webster Public Library has a few fun programs coming up.

* This Thursday May 3 is Star Wars Night at the library. Stop by from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to celebrate all things Star Wars, including crafts and special activities. The whole family is invited and there’s no registration needed. All ages are welcome.

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* Percy Jackson fans will want to be on hand Saturday May 5 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. for the Rick Riordan book release party, celebrating the release of Riordan’s third book in the Trials of Apollo series: The Burning Maze. The event will include crafts, games, snacks, and a special viewing of the video of Rick’s recent visit to Rochester. Costumes are welcome, so come dressed as your favorite character.

All ages are welcome, but space is limited, so click here to register.

* We’ve seen enough rain to last us for a while, but just in case more is on the way, you might want to check out the library’s Rain Barrel & Rain Garden Workshop on Tuesday, May 15 from 6 to 7 p.m.

Learn how to protect local water quality by learning about rain gardens and building a rain barrel for your home. All tools and materials will be supplied at the workshop.

Workshop fee is $40 per rain barrel. Pre-registration is required. Click here.

The Webster Public Library is located at 980 Ridge Road. For more information, visit the library’s website here.

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The First Baptist Church of Penfield will host a chicken barbecue this Saturday May 5 from 2 till 6 pm, (or sold out).

Chickens will be prepared on site by Gale-Wyn Catering. Dinners are $10.50 and include a half barbecued chicken, coleslaw or macaroni salad, salt potatoes, roll and butter, plus a dessert.

The First Baptist Church of Penfield is located at 1862 Penfield Road. For more information call 585-586-2876 or visit http://www.fbpenfield.org.

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Webster Library to host unique photography exhibit

30 Apr

Everybody has a story. That’s the intriguing premise behind a brand new photography exhibit opening Tuesday at the Webster Public Library.

Created by Linda Dow Hayes of Hayes Photography, the exhibit features portraits and personal narratives of 25 Webster Central School District faculty and staff members

Hayes, who works as a teaching assistant at Webster Thomas High School, has always been interested in creating insightful portraits. The project grew from remarks made by Webster CSD superintendent Carm Gumina on the opening day of school last year, when he talked about the fact that all faculty and staff members have stories to tell.

Hayes took that thought and ran with it, creating her very personal and meaningful “We All Have a Story” exhibit, where she takes a closer look at the lives and stories of more than two dozen staff members.

“The idea of connecting with interested faculty and staff members by taking their portraits was something that I felt might work to help me grow as an artist and connect with the community-at-large,” Hayes said.

The exhibit, which runs the entire month of May, will be open to the public during the library’s normal business hours, Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., friday from 10 to 6, and Saturday from 10 to 5.

The public is invited to an opening reception on Wednesday May 2 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The Webster Public Library is located at 980 Ridge Road.

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YOU need to come to the Willink play

25 Apr
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Mayli Nitsch, Olivia Freida and Alex Ramirez work on a scene during rehearsal. (Provided)

Paradise Junction is just about the most perfect small town in the world.

It’s a place where everybody gets along, the sun is always shining, and the tomatoes grow as big as beach balls. So when a TV network offers to film a reality show there, the townsfolk jump at the chance. After all, the town will receive five million dollars, while the publicity promises to turn the residents into TV stars.

But host Wink Smiley has his own agenda. Secrets are revealed, old feuds are rekindled, and the town’s annual pie-baking contest is turned into a massive food fight. Now it’s up to Joe Goode, owner of the Rise ’n’ Shine Diner, to save the town.

Find out for yourself if he’s successful when the students of Willink Middle School present the student-run play Paradise Junction on Friday May 4 at 7 p.m. and Saturday May 5 at 1 p.m.

The heartwarming comedy is inspired by the films of Frank Capra such as It’s a Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Tickets are just $5 and will be available at the door.

Willink Middle School is located at 900 Publisher’s Parkway, Webster. For more information, visit willinkstudentrunplay.club.

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Julia Maciag, Jakob Rothfuss (Technical Director) and Colby Armstrong (Performing Director) work on set pieces for Paradise Junction. (Provided) 

Thank you to Jakob Rothfuss for providing all this information and the photos!

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Webster community mailbag

20 Apr

Let’s start today’s mailbag with a unique event being hosted next Wednesday April 25 by St. Ann’s Community on Ridge Road, which will be of special interest to anyone with a loved one who is dealing with memory impairment.

From 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., people are encouraged to visit The Lifestyle of Rainier Grove, the memory care neighborhood at Cherry Ridge. Staff members will be on hand to demonstrate how they use sensory stimulation to bring enjoyment to residents and increase their social interaction.

Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be available. Please RSVP by calling (585) 697-6701

Rainier Grove at St. Ann’s is located at 900 Cherry Ridge Blvd. (across from Webster Schroeder High School). The event is open to the public. For more information, click here to see the Facebook event posting.

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29595506_1997052513657004_6508532490232657654_nThe Webster Central PTSA will present a wellness night on Monday April 30 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Willink Middle School cafetorium, 900 Publisher’s Parkway.

The event, called Coping with Stress and Anxiety in Family Life, is in response to PTSA survey results. It will explore stress and anxiety in our daily lives, provide tips on how to identify it and tools to cope with it.

Facilitators will include Erica Ebert, WCSD instructional specialist and mindfulness coach; and Keith Greer, WCSD social worker, progressive recovery coach, speaker, trainer, and advocate at Recovery Coach University.

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St. Martin Lutheran Church will host its bi-annual Spring Chicken BBQ and FunFest on Saturday, May 5 from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Dinners will include a half chicken, salt potatoes, cole slaw, roll, butter and beverage, for $10. Pie slices and other desserts will also be available for purchase.  A hot dog dinner for kids is just $2.

Dinners are eat-in or take-out. Tickets can be reserved by calling the church office at 671-1899, or purchased at the event while supplies last.  Proceeds support the church’s Christmas Stocking Project, which reaches more than 500 local youth in Monroe and Wayne counties.

St. Martin Lutheran Church is located at 813 Bay Road, Webster.

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The Webster Arboretum Association’s spring plant sale is back, scheduled for May 12 from 8 a.m. to noon.

This sale is just blooming with beautiful, healthy live plants which are grown by local garden clubs and local commercial growers in local soil, so they’re going to grow in your garden, too. Garden Club members will also share their favorite plants from their own gardens.

Check it out at the Webster Arboretum, 1700 Schlegel Rd., Webster. It’s a perfect opportunity to grab a Mother’s Day gift.

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What I found out at Community Arts Day

16 Apr

I mentioned in a few of my previous posts how much I look forward to Community Arts Day every year, in large part because I get to check in with a lot of community agencies and visit with some people I only see once a year — at this event.

As usual, this year I came away with a whole bunch of flyers about upcoming events, most of which I will be developing into individual blogs in the near future. But for now, let me give you a teaser:

  • The Webster Public Library is sponsoring an unusual fund-raiser. Well, actually, a HAT-raiser. They’re looking for generous people to make hats, caps and head-warmers of all sorts for sale this fall to support library programming. You can knit, crochet, sew, or weave the hats (whatever!) and make them any size or design, then drop off your creations at the pubic library by October 1.
  • The Webster Library’s Spring Book Sale is scheduled for Thursday April 26-Saturday April 28. You can get more details by clicking here.

TROUBLEINP

  • Willink’s fourth annual student-run play will hit the stage on Friday May 4 and Saturday May 5. It’s called “Trouble in Paradise Junction,” which they describe as a “love letter to small town life.” Tickets go on sale Wednesday April 18. For more information visit willinkstudentrunplay.club.
  • The Friends of Webster Trails reminded me that there’s a new trail in town! The new Yellow Trail has recently been completed at Four Mile Creek Preserve, at the corner of Phillips and Lake roads. It’s an extension of an already existing trail system which itself is one of the newer jewels in Webster’s outstanding trail system. Find out more at www.webstertrails.org. And while you’re there, drop them a few bucks and become a member.

Stay tuned for more details about these and other upcoming Webster events, including the Chorus of the Genesee’s annual spring concert, which this year will welcome the Core, and the Yellow Jackets. I just got a flyer in the mail, and will tell you more about that shortly.

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