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Honoring our first responders

27 Jul

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Better late than never, I’d like to post a follow-up report on the mini-parade that took place along East Main Street on Thursday night.

There obviously was no Firemen’s Parade this year, but Lori Allen and her family was undaunted, setting up their parade chairs outside their Main Street home anyway, at what would have normally been parade time (albeit a week late thanks to the monsoon). They handed out free flags to passersby, accepted donations for our first responders, and welcomed visits by officers from the Webster PD and Webster Volunteer FD firefighters.

I wasn’t able to make the festivities, but Lori posted this on her Facebook page:

Not a bad turnout ! Thank you all who stopped and got a lag, beeped your horn and waved, and those who donated! Thank you Webster Police Dept for stopping and also thank you to the Webster fireman and woman for coming as well and to all the firemen THANK YOU for what you do! 

Before the end of the evening, Lori raised $218 through donations from passers-by.

I don’t know exactly who took all these photos, but here are a few from the evening:

Many thanks to the Allen family for reminding us what community is all about.

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The parade will go on!

21 Jul

Well, sort of.

Last weekend I posted about Lori Allen and her family, who were planning to do something special last Thursday night in honor of the Webster Fireman’s Parade.

The plan was, on Thursday evening, which in a normal year would have been Parade Night, they were going to set up their chairs in front of their house at Baker and East Main (as they do every year). Then, during the normally scheduled parade time, they would hand out flags and encourage drivers to honk on their way by.

Well, you may remember that a monsoon blew through town last Thursday night, so that event was cancelled, as would have the parade itself, probably.

But Lori has announced that the virtual parade has been rescheduled for this Thursday, July 23.  So as you’re driving or walking through the village that evening around 6:30 or so, watch for them, grab a flag, toot your horn and join in the celebration!

flags

The event is as much a celebration of the parade-that-wasn’t as it is a fundraiser for our Webster Volunteer Fire Department.

This is what Lori posted about that on Facebook:

My Dad wants to show support for the firemen, police, all first responders. Thursday we will be sitting up there handing out American flags, and flags with thin blue or red stripes representing our police and firemen along with info on donating.

This is (the WVFD’s) big fundraiser and of course the Carnival has been cancelled due to Covid. So if you’re driving by Baker St., stop and get your flag, or honk as you go by, and please consider donating to the Webster Volunteer Fire Dept. It may be you they come to save.

I imagine that Lori and her family will have a collection jar out there, but if you’re not going to be able to stop by, you can also donate by visiting http://www.donatewvfd.org. Or if you’d rather send a check, make it payable to the Webster Volunteer Fire Dept. Fund, and mail to: Key Bank, 980 Ridge Rd., Webster, NY 14580.

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Birthday parade honors former St. Rita principal

13 May

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Birthday parades seem to be popping up every week these days, but this one was an extra special one.

On Monday evening, a parade of cars of cars honoring Sister Katherine Ann Rappl streamed through the St. Rita parking lot, offering gratitude and 80th birthday wishes to the school’s former principal.

It was a complete surprise for Sister Rappl, who clearly enjoyed the parade, which numbered about 140 cars. Thank you so much to Julie Schillaci for passing along the included here.

Julie also sent this write-up about the school’s beloved former principal:

No matter how many years pass, alumni of St. Rita School in Webster will always be “God drops” to Sister of Mercy Katherine Ann Rappl.

Exceptional students at the school are recognized with this honorary designation and receive raindrop-shaped sun catchers to hang in their windows to remind them 84CD1B72-D0E9-48EF-96F8-E6E6EF5CF9F9of how they capture God’s love.

The phrase “God drops” was one that Sister Rappl picked up during a National Catholic Educational Association Conference workshop years ago

“A raindrop is fully made up of what a cloud is made up of,” she always said, noting that people are God drops because they are made up of the same substance as God. God’s life is inextricably intertwined with their lives, she said.

And for the past 30 years, the lives of the students at St. Rita School have been intertwined with Sister Rappl, who began working there as principal in 1983.

She taught at St. Andrew and St. John the Evangelist, Rochester; St. Salome, Irondequoit; St. Louis, Pittsford; and St. Patrick Junior High School and Notre Dame High School, Elmira.

Formerly known as Sister Mary Benedicta, her home parish was St. Thomas the Apostle in Irondequoit, and she attended the parish school. She said the Sisters of Mercy who taught her at Our Lady of Mercy High School in Brighton were very influential in her discerning her vocation, and she became a Sister of Mercy in 1958.

Sister Rappl loves being in Catholic education because she has been able to teach children both academics and their faith, and she has gotten the chance to see students grow.

“That’s a big joy in seeing how they learn to take responsibility and control of their behavior from kindergarten to sixth grade,”

And, she always points out, J.O.Y. — an acronym that stands for Jesus, others and yourself — is the school’s theme.

“I always tell students don’t let anyone take your joy away from you,” Sister Rappl received the “Lighting the Fire Award” from the Catholic School Administrators Association of New York State for her 50 years of service in Catholic education.

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You may have heard some commotion last night in the village around 7 p.m. That was yet another birthday parade, this one for Fritz Sierk, owner of The Coach Sports Bar on West Main.

This one featured not only a fire engine and other emergency vehicles, but also the WFD’s antique engine, and that huge Teamsters semi, blasting music.

Hard to tell if Fritz saw it all; he seemed to have something in his eye for part of it.

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The next Webster Museum docent?

23 Jan

Edison PoppHere’s a wonderful tidbit from our Webster Museum and how the folks there are changing young lives.

The photo above is of 7-year old Edison Popp. His grandmother, Marianne Ferrara, had taken him to the Webster Museum where Sharon Pratt and Lisa McNamara were serving as docents. They gave him a tour of the museum, and he was so impressed that, upon returning home, he set up his own museum and acted as docent.

As for me, I would love to know what some of those objects are and am very impressed that he had access to all of them. I see a college history major in the future.

Haven’t visited the Webster Museum yourself lately? Make sure to pop in soon to see their latest exhibits. Perhaps you will also be inspired, juts as Edison was. The museum is located at 18 Lapham Park in the Village of Webster, open 2-4 p.m. every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

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The stories are still being told

16 Dec

WAHAS_11x17_PosterIf you haven’t stopped by the Webster Public Library yet to check out the We All Have a Story: The Stories Continue photography exhibit, I highly recommend you take the time to do so in the next few weeks.

The exhibit, created by local portrait photographer and Webster Central School District employee Linda Hayes, takes a closer look at the lives and stories of 21 WCSD staff members to help illuminate the people inside the classrooms and offices who work with our children every day. The stories are thought provoking, happy and sad. But more than anything else, they’ll probably make you think, “Wow, I never realized that.”

My story is among them. I tell my story about how three simple — but powerful — words a teacher spoke to me many years ago changed my life and inspired me to become a writer.

You will probably know at least one other of the participants, which also include:

  • Joe Montemaro, WCSD Director of Technology
  • Elizabeth Livorsi, Spry math teacher
  • Elizabeth Ristow-Klem, Klem South music teacher
  • Sandy McCormack, retired Wilink special education teacher
  • Ashley Yang, Webster Thomas Social Studies teacher
  • Karen Murray, Webster Thomas administrator and Chester French, retired Buildings and Grounds
  • Kyle Suffoletto, Webster Thomas English teacher and his father Mike Suffoletto, current school board member
  • Diane Huot, Plank South literacy teacher
  • Marnie Weinmann, Plank North kindergarten teacher
  • Leslie Jones, Klem South literacy teacher
  • Julie Provenzano, Schlegel speech pathology teacher
  • Krista Lawton, Webster Schroeder English teacher
  • Hannah Formella, Webster Schroeder speech pathology teacher, with Julius, her therapy dog
  • Kelly Stevens, State Rd. art teacher
  • Leslie Hall, Webster Schroeder foreign language teacher
  • Martha Sullivan, Webster Thomas English teacher
  • Patty Cooke, Webster Schroeder guidance counselor
  • Sarah Harding, Klem North PE teacher

It’s worth a few minutes to check them all out, so next time you’re at the library, take the time to do so. Or make a point to stop by before the exhibit closes.

The exhibit runs the entire month of December, and is 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, Saturday from 10 to 5 and Sunday from 1 to 4. (The library will be closed for the holidays on December 24, 25, and 31.)

The library is located at 980 Ridge Rd., its main entrance on Van Ingen Drive at the back of the plaza.

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Ah, the joys of raking…

5 Nov

Pile of autumn maple colored leaves isolated on white background.

As many of you know, I’m a fairly new resident of the Village of Webster. My husband and I moved here from our North Penfield home in April, and I totally love it.

I love being only a short walk from the center of the village, and all the pubs and restaurants there. I love being able to stroll to village events without having to worry about traffic and parking. I love being so much closer to great Christmas shopping, and only eight minutes from my job at Schlegel Rd. Elementary.

But you know what I love BEST about living in the Village of Webster?

I DON’T HAVE TO BAG ANY LEAVES!!!!!!!

I’ve been tapping out this blog for more than 10 years now, and pretty much every single year I whined about how the Town of Penfield still requires its residents to bag their leaves every fall and leave them for their refuse collector. I envied my Webster neighbors over the back fence who simply pushed theirs to the curb while I raked and swept and piled and stuffed and tied bags for hours every weekend.

We had several large trees in our yard, which meant that we would typically collect more than 100 bags of leaves every fall. And since our refuse collector only allowed us to put out eight of them every week, we would be placing them at the curb well into January.

In contrast, last weekend, it took Jack and me only about 90 minutes with our rake, tarp and leaf sweeper to clear our yard and dump all the leaves at the curb for pick-up. We estimated we’ll have to do it one more time in a week or two. But then…we’ll be done.

So thank you, Village of Webster, for providing this service. My tax dollars are well worth it.

Here’s a run-down of the village and town leaf collection information, from their websites:

Webster Village

This service begins when the autumn leaves begin to accumulate on the ground and will be on a daily basis until the beginning of December, or until the first heavy snowfall, whichever comes first. The Public Works Department will traverse each Village street once a week to remove leaves from the curb. To help make leaf pickup easier for yourself and our DPW staff, we request you follow some simple guidelines:

-Do not place brush, rocks, pumpkins, wood, plastic, or other foreign material with your leaves
-Do not bag your leaves for Village curbside pickup
-Do not place leaves in roadway, or on top of drainage structures, concrete, in gutters, or drainage ditches

The village also provides brush removal one day every month. For more details about that, visit the Village of Webster website.

Town of Webster

We start on the west side of town heading east and will make as many passes through town as possible during the leaf pick-up operation, weather permitting. There is no set schedule for particular streets throughout the town. Leaf season typically runs six weeks and start and finish dates vary based on actual leaf drop.

Please be patient with us during this process, as leaves do not all fall at once, and we never know what to expect for our weather conditions.
– Make sure leaves are on the edge of the road and not in the road or gutter
– Rake only leaves (and not twigs or branches) to the road’s edge
– Placing leaves in the road or gutter significantly slows down the entire operation. It is against the law to place leaves or any debris in the road.

For more information, visit the Town of Webster website.

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Kitchen philosophy

17 Sep

fridgeI have a very messy fridge (at left), and I always have. Like many families, the front of our refrigerator is our communication center and a vital tool for reminding me of appointments, generally keeping our lives in order. It always boggles my mind when I go into someone else’s house and see that their fridge is completely bare. I would be rudderless.

I was thinking about that the other day. I was staring at the fridge as my coffee was cooking, and was reminded about a blog I wrote back in October of 2008, on the eve of the 2008 election. Then, as now, I titled it “Kitchen philosophy,” and it read like this:

You know, you can tell a lot about a person by looking at her refrigerator.

Take mine, for example. A close inspection of the schedules, fliers, magnets, white board notes and calendar dates jostling for space on my fridge will tell you these things about my family:

  • we’re Buffalo Bills fans
  • at least one of us works for the YMCA
  • the kids get good grades and are musically talented
  • we’re involved in our church
  • we shop at Aldi and Tops
  • we’re blood donors
  • we watch WXXI
  • we’re into martial arts
  • someone attends Nazareth College
  • we care about the environment

The fact that there are three calendars on our fridge would also indicate that despite all these activities (and the chaotic appearance of the fridge), we’re pretty organized about everything and are keeping on top of life pretty well.

Now, that’s an amazing amount of information gleaned from one small part of a person’s life. And if you think about it, that’s a heck of a lot more than we know about either of the two presidential candidates or their VP picks, people we’re going to be trusting with running our country and helping our families maintain the status quo.

So what about this … how about we ask each of the four candidates to take a picture of their refrigerators and publish them in the New York Times. Those simple photos could tell us more about their character than any stump speech or debate ever could.

A lot has changed in my life since that fridge from 11 years ago. I no longer have any children at home, for example, which changes things a LOT. I also have an entirely new house — and new fridge.

So I thought it would be fun to do this again. Here’s what I gleaned from my current messy fridge:

  • My kids are grown, but I’m still proud of them. Their photo holds a prominent spot
  • We still shop at Aldi, and even tough I’m not a Tops shopper anymore, I still hold a soft spot in my heart for them — my Wegmans shopping list still says “Tops”
  • My daughter is getting married.
  • I like live theater
  • I shop at Kohl’s
  • I like pizza!
  • I’m into cycling, and am still involved in martial arts
  • We’re still going to the same dentist
  • I work in the Webster schools.

A lot of things are different. But so much stays the same.

What does your fridge say about you?

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Village People

27 Aug

houses

My husband and I have met some wonderful people since we moved into the Village of Webster. It took very little time before we got to know a dozen neighbors, and the neighborhood began to feel like a family.

Now don’t get me wrong. I had some wonderful neighbors at our old house in North Penfield, and we still keep in touch. But somehow the connection is different — closer and more neighborly — in a village setting.

And that’s true even if the neighbors don’t even live here anymore, as evidenced by something that happened last night.

A couple — Joanne and Bob — were walking by our house, and had stopped to take a closer look. We got to chatting with them and Bob explained that he’d grown up in the house back in the ’50s, and his mother continued to live here for many years after, including after his marriage to Joanne.

So of course, we invited them in.

It was a no-brainer for me. For years I had dreamed of revisiting my childhood home in Owego, which I had left in 1976. Several years ago, when I was in town for a high school reunion, I finally marshaled the nerve to knock on the door, and asked a total stranger if she wouldn’t mind my coming in and looking around. She was kind enough to allow me to do just that. It was a walk back through memories I will always fondly remember.

I was delighted to be able to give Bob and Joanne that same experience. Their eyes lit up as they remembered Mom’s little kitchen, where our fireplace is now located. Bob pointed out where an archway was removed to open up the entire first floor. Our kitchen used to be a small back room where his mother typed up novels and magazine articles. The large bedroom upstairs where he and his brothers slept has been split into two rooms. And he pointed out that the porch light is the very same one he remembered from his youth.

It was a delightful walk through the past for us as well. We enjoy hearing about the history of our little home and the lives that were lived here.

Bob and Joanne now live up near the lake, and like to drive into the village to take their evening walks.  We look forward to the day that they stop again for a visit. They’ve promised to bring along a photo album, so we too can see our home as it used to be.

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Bygone blog: Summer camp

14 Jul

This is the seventh in my series of Bygone Blogs, in which I am re-posting some of my favorite blogs from the last 10 years. This one was originally published on June 20, 2011. I post it today in honor of all the kids (young and old) who are going off to camp this summer. 

A letter to my son at camp

Lenore Skenazy had a funny column in Sunday morning’s newspaper. Maybe you saw it; she had come across a website which actually gave instructions to parents on how to write a letter to their child at camp. Now, I didn’t go so far as to try to find that website, but I suspect the advice is aimed at parents whose young children are at a sleep-away camp, perhaps for the first time.

My daughter showed me the column yesterday.  She suggested I follow the website’s instructions and send a letter to my son, who left for camp Friday morning.  I thought that was a terrific idea.

But since my son is 21 years old and will be spending his entire summer as a counselor at the YMCA’s Camp Gorham in the Adirondacks, mine reads a bit differently:

Dear Sean,

I hope you had a safe trip to camp on Friday morning. Actually, I know you did; your dad took you there personally since we won’t let you have your own car until you can pay collision costs yourself for a change.

I miss you already. I was just remarking on that as I gathered your laundry from the floor in your room and rediscovered the color of your carpet.  I will miss all the charming peculiarities that make you unique and that bring us such joy at home.

Like your superhuman ability to eat an entire box of cereal in just two bowlfuls. And an entire 29-ounce can of peaches in one sitting.

I will miss seeing what new musical instrument you have decided to befriend this week. I will miss the way you can see music in everything. Like when you “conduct” the directional signal in my car as it makes its steady blinky noise, and how you can turn any surface in the house into an impromptu drum when we least expect it. I will miss having to high-step through my office so as to not step on a cymbal or flute or tambourine.

I will miss hearing the “SLAM!  THUNK!” when you come in from teaching in the evening, slamming the door behind you and dropping everything you carry within a one-foot radius. I will miss having to kick you out of the lounge chair because Dad and I want to use the TV ourselves for a change.  I will miss worrying if you’ll be up in time for your appointments because you stayed up all night playing video games.

Yes, I will miss all of these things, because as aggravating as they all are, they all mean you’re home and you’re safe. And that’s all a mom needs to know.

So have fun at camp this summer, Sean. I’ll miss you. But I’ll try to remember that I get you nine months of the year, so it’s only fair those kids at Camp Gorham get you the other three months.

They have no idea how lucky they are.

Love, Mom

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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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