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Will Ridge Road get a Country Max?

20 Jun

Representatives from Country Max, a Rochester-based garden supply and pet supply store, were on hand at the Webster Planning Board meeting Tuesday night to present their plans to build a store on the southwest corner of Ridge and Hatch roads.

The proposal includes constructing a 26,000-foot building with outdoor nursery, bag yard and parking lot on a 6.72-acre parcel (which is actually comprised of two lots, at 1165 Hatch and 711 Ridge). Two entrances will be included, one off of Ridge and the other off of Hatch.

The plan is already getting a lot of attention. About a dozen town residents attended the meeting to hear the proposal. Several of them were residents of the cul-de-sac on Bishops Lane; the large store will be built pretty much in their back yards.

After an engineer representing Country Max presented the plans, many of those in attendance approached the podium to ask questions and express their concerns. Among them were:

  • noise levels from equipment and trucks
  • buffer space between the houses and the store
  • increase in traffic on Ridge and Hatch roads
  • intrusive lighting
  • maintenance of the buffer zone (which will include a mowed area and retention ponds)
  • possible unsightliness from discarded pallets and heavy equipment behind the store

There was a lot of discussion especially about the amount of buffer space between the Bishops Lane homes and the store, and what Country Max was planning to do to maintain some of the wild area in the buffer zone and conceal the back of the store from the nearby homes.

One woman simply asked “Why?” Why does Country Max need to build a brand new store in Webster less than a mile from Thomas Landscaping, less than three miles from Lowe’s, and when there are already Country Max stores in Fairport and Ontario.

“What’s wrong with some green grass on Ridge Road instead of just commercial here and commercial there?” she asked. “The Town of Webster is becoming the Mall of Webster.”

Another resident added to that thought by wondering why they were constructing a new building rather than moving into the empty Kmart or Grossman’s.

The Country Max representatives did their best to answer the residents’ concerns.

In addition to a 50-foot town-owned strip of green space on the north side of the cul-de-sac, the store will have a 100-foot buffer, they said. The store is only open during the daytime hours (no later than 8 p.m.) and there won’t be any after-hours loading. Lighting will not be intrusive, they assured the residents; even the after-hour security lighting will be pointing down, and the parking lot lighting will be pointing mostly to the north.

As for concealing the store from the residents’ back yards, Country Max is already planning a stand of evergreens along some of the back lot line. Several people asked that those trees be extended along the entire lot line, a proposal which the Planning Board members seemed to think was reasonable.

With regards to traffic, Country Max will be working with both the State of New York (which is responsible for Ridge Road) and the Town of Webster (responsible for Hatch Road). They don’t expect the increase in traffic to be significant enough to warrant a traffic study.

Planning Board Chairman Anthony Casciani even said that during busy hours, the existing traffic light at Hatch Road, and the ability to exit onto Hatch Road would both help.

The representatives also address the “Why?” question.

“We’re actually returning to Webster,” he said.  “We’re happy to be back, part of the Webster community. We’ll try to be as likable as we can, promise not to close other businesses down, (to be a) friendly competitor. It’s a great community to be involved in.”

The planning board meeting marks just the beginning of what will probably be a pretty long process. According to the engineer, if and when Country Max receives approval, construction won’t begin until at least the fall.

The discussion will continue at another public hearing scheduled for Tuesday night Aug. 7, at 7 p.m. at the Town Board Room in the VanIngen Court Building, 1002 Ridge Road (that’s the one in back that used to be the library).

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Tuesday Community Mailbag

12 Jun

wine glassSummer’s beginning to heat up in the village of Webster, marked by the first Wine Walk of the season, this Saturday June 16.

Local merchants participating this time around include Metro Sport Brokers, The Coach Sports Bar, Roc and Soul Fitness, Webster Hots, Sweetwood BBQ, Holistic Health Center, Furnari Jewelry, The Garage Sale Store, MJ Gabel Jewelers, Reggio’s Engraving and Artecho.

Glass pickup will begin at 3:30 p.m. at Kittelberger Florist, 263 North Ave., and ends at 5:30 p.m.. Please make sure to have your ID; each participant must pick up his or her own glass.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the Webster BID website here. Organizers report there might be a glitch on the site indicating that the event is sold out, but that’s not the case. Just keep clicking through, because there are lots of tickets left.

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St. Martin Lutheran Church will host its annual HUGE Garage Sale Thursday through Saturday, June 14 to 16. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 9 to 2 on Saturday.

St. Martin is located at 813 Bay Road, Webster

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Schichtel-Mark-webCongratulations to Mark Schichtel, the new principal at DeWitt Road Elementary School.

Schichtel is currently DeWitt’s assistant principal, and will officially begin his new position on July 1. He’ll be taking over for Debra Reed, who is retiring at the end of this school year after more than 23 years of outstanding service to WCSD.

Before coming to DeWitt Elementary, Schichtel served as WCSD’s director of science and technology from 2010-2013, was assistant principal at Williamson High School, and taught science in the East Irondequoit School District.

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The NEQ ALS, our local paramedic service, will host its first Food Truck Rodeo and Craft Fair of the season on Thursday June 21 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Firemen’s Field on Main Street.

There aren’t a whole lot of details yet about what trucks of crafty people will be there, but in the past the trucks have included Netsins Ice Cream, Effortlessly Healthy, Macarollin and Heiztelmans. Some vendors who have shown up before include Young Living, LuLaRoe, Honey and Lace, Pampered Chef, Usborne Books, Tupperware, Perfectly Posh, Tastefully Simple, Lip Sense, XS Energy, and Park Lane Paparazzi.

Proceeds from the event will help the NEQ ALS build a new headquarters building.

Updates can be found on the NEQ ALS Facebook page here.

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Community Blood Drive will be back Thursday

6 Jun

This year’s raffle prize bags fill a table, awaiting donor tickets. 

If you didn’t have a chance to get out this afternoon or evening for the Webster Community Blood Drive, please consider carving out an hour of your day tomorrow to do so.

The drive will return Thursday from noon to 7 p.m. at the Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive, and with it the chance to win one of more than 30 raffle prizes.

That’s what Webster does at this one-of-a-kind donation drive. Two dozen Penfield and Webster businesses have donated more than 30 raffle prizes to the cause. (Check my earlier blog for a list of all the prizes.)  Every presenting donor (which means if you show up and sign in) gets 10 raffle tickets to drop in a table filled with raffle prize bags. PLUS everyone gets a Red Cross t-shirt AND a coupon from Bruster’s for a pint of ice cream.

Like, absolutely free.

And of course, there’ll be homemade cookies and juice boxes to reward you after your donation.

Then of course of course, remember that your donation will help save up to three lives.

What’s not to love? Just drop in — there are plenty of walk-in slots available, so you’ll be in and out in about an hour.

The need, by the way, is pretty desperate right now, so please don’t put off your donation until the next drive. (‘Cause there won’t be raffles and free ice cream there, for starters.) I’m signed up for a 4:15 appointment, so maybe I’ll see you there?


Congratulations to Brandi, the lucky donor who walked away with the drive’s first prize, a gift basket from Schutt’s. 

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Joe Obbie Farmer’s Market opens this Saturday

6 Jun

farm market 2

Don’t believe the calendar (or this week’s unseasonably cool weather). Summer has officially begun.

I know this, because Webster’s Joe Obbie Farmer’s Market opens for the season at 8:30 a.m this Saturday June 9 at Webster Towne Center (Target/Kohl’s Plaza) on Holt Road.

If you’ve never been to this market you should start making it a regular Saturday morning stop. Varying with the season, you’ll find baked goods, pies, meats, poultry, goat cheese and goat cheese products, flavored nuts, herbs, spice blends, honey, maple syrup, cider, soap and body care products, plants and cut flowers, jewelry, crafts and of course a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

Special events and entertainment are scheduled every week; this weekend, for their grand opening celebration, Walt the Balloon Man will be on hand for the kids, and for the adults,  a representative from the Northeast Quadrant Advanced Life Support Service will be on site offering blood pressure checks.

The market runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. every Saturday through October 27, rain or shine. Check out the Joe Obbie Farmer’s Market website and Facebook page for details.

See you Saturday!



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Mini mailbag

5 Jun

Just a few quick notes this morning about a few events coming up later this week.

The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepard, 1130 Webster Road (at the corner of State Road) is holding a drive-thru takeout chicken dinner sale on Thursday June 7 from 4 to  6 p.m. (or until they’re sold out). It’s a fund-raiser for its Outreach Committee, which supports local charities in the greater Rochester area.

Each meal (from Heintzelman’s BBQ Pit of Ontario) is $12, consisting of a half-side of chicken, salt potatoes, cole slaw and cornbread.


Fans, friends and family members welcomed Jim Nowakowski at the airport when he returned to Rochester in September 2015 after an exciting run on “So You Think You Can Dance?” 

Remember all the excitement in town a few years ago when local dance phenom Jim Nowakowski was competing on the TV show So You Think You Can Dance? You may remember he got as far as the semi-final round — the top six dancers — before being eliminated by audience voting.

Well, Jim will be back in town this weekend as a guest performer when his dance school, the Draper Center for Dance Education celebrates its 30th anniversary.

Nowakowski will be joined by Chelsea Bonosky, Shannon Rodriguez, Jessie Tretter and Adam Kittelberger, in addition to other Draper Center dancers.

The show will be presented on Friday June 8 and Saturday June 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Nazareth College Arts Center, 4245 East Avenue in Rochester. General admission tickets for the show are $15. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for the June 8 performance only. For $50, they include preferred seating, pre-performance reception in the Arts Center Lipson Lounge, desserts at intermission and a complimentary glass of champagne at the Erie Grill following the performance.

For additional information and ticket purchase please contact Draper Center’s main office at 585-461-2100.

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Webster Community Blood Drive returns this week

4 Jun

blood drive

The Webster Community Blood Drive – the best blood drive EVER — will return to St. Paul’s Church and the Webster Rec Center this week.

It’s perfect timing, too, as the American Red Cross has just announced there’s an urgent need for blood donors to give now to help prevent a summer blood shortage. Blood and platelet donations often decline around holidays like Memorial Day and when regular donors are vacationing and schools are out of session.

This week’s drive is a great way to help out.

The semi-annual two-day blood drive, heralded by the huge white signs placed all around town, is always one of the most popular and best attended drives of the entire year. It stands out among all others by the tremendous support it receives from Webster businesses.

And the reason it’s so popular is all the GOODIES that donors receive at this drive. For starters, every presenting donor will be handed ten raffle tickets, which can be used to take chances on more than 30 different prizes provided by local businesses.

The raffle prizes at this week’s drive include:

  • Gift certificates from Barry’s Old School Irish
  • Beauty products from Beyond Cuts Salon
  • Gift certificates from The Chicken Coop
  • Gift card from Eastway Liquor
  • Gift cards from Kittelberger Florist
  • Grumblers and pint glasses from Knucklehead Craft Brewing
  • Free month of classes from Matsunami Karate
  • Gift certificate from Natural Alternatives
  • Gift certificate from Rubino’s
  • Gift basket from Schutt’s Apple Mill
  • 10 free classes from Strike Back Martial Arts 
  • Hampton Bay Ceiling lamp from The Garage Sale Store
  • A free ice cream cake from The Goodie Shoppe
  • Free month’s membership from World Gym

A special thank you to our newest business sponsors, who kindly donated these prizes to the cause:

  • Two free classes from ROC & Soul Fitness
  • Gift certificate from Carl’s Pizza Kitchen
  • Gift certificate from Ploty’s Hometown Tavern
  • Gift certificate from Webster Hots
  • Gift certificate from The Filling Station Pub & Grill

posterOne of the most popular coupons of all — from Bruster’s — will also be back.  Every presenting donor will receive Bruster’s “Pint for a Pint” coupon, good for a free pint of ice cream or a free ice cream cone.

Wait! There’s  more! On top of all that, each donor will also be handed a free t-shirt from the Red Cross (while supplies last). Even more prizes and give-aways are expected to be added to the list, so make sure to be there.

The Webster Community Blood Drive is scheduled for Wednesday June 6 at St. Paul’s Church, 783 Hard Road, and Thursday June 7 at the Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive, from noon to 7 pm each day. You can make an appointment by calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or by logging onto Walk-ins are also welcome.

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Peter Kaulback remembered, 50 years after his death

3 Jun


If you were driving along Ridge Road last Thursday evening around 6:00, you might have noticed a number of Patriot Guard riders leading a small convoy of cars to Webster Rural Cemetery.

The occasion was a remembrance ceremony in honor of former Village of Webster resident Peter Jon Kaulback.

Kaulback, a lance corporal in the Marines, was killed in Vietnam on May 31, 1968, and is buried at Webster Rural.

Peter lived on Fuller Ave. in the village, a short walk to the Spry building, which at that time was the town’s high school. He graduated there in 1962, a year before the Webster Thomas building was finished. 

To honor Kaulback’s memory on the 50th anniversary of his death, several friends and local officials gathered at Spry and processed to Webster Rural Cemetery, led by the Patriot Guard riders.

Quartermaster Sean Miller represented the Webster VFW, and Councilman Barry Deane was there for the Town of Webster. In his remarks, Dean remembered that he and Kaulback had gone deer hunting the day before he left for Vietnam. 

A member of Buglers Across America played a beautiful rendition of Taps, which made the ceremony even more meaningful.

There’s currently a display at the Webster Public Library in honor of Peter Kaulback with lots more information, including a copy of the letter he sent to his girlfriend after learning he was going to Vietnam. The display also features information about Don Holleder, another of the five young Webster men who died in Vietnam.

Thank you to Jim Lanson for coordinating the simple, yet beautiful ceremony.

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WFD hosts blood drive

30 May

CaptureYour next opportunity to be a blood donor is later this week, when our Webster Volunteer Fire Department hosts a donation drive this Thursday from 1 to 7 p.m. at the Community Meeting Room, 35 South Avenue.

The drive is being co-hosted by the North East Joint Fire District and is coordinated by Webster volunteer firefighter Jacky Ingrassio. She’s encouraging a friendly competition between Webster Fire Department and West Webster Fire Department to see which can donate the most units.

But of course they’re also hoping that all eligible donors in our community will come out and “answer the call,” and give blood in honor of our everyday heroes.

This drive is especially important as the Red Cross is experiencing an urgent need for blood, a situation which will only get worse as the summer progresses.

Zoom in on the poster to see how you can make an appointment, but of course walk-ins are always welcome.

Can’t make Thursday’s drive? Stay tuned for news about next week’s bi-annual Webster Community Blood Drive. (That’s the one with the raffles.) The big white signs should be going up this weekend.

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Webster community mailbag

29 May

mailbagGot a few unusual events for your reading pleasure today.

Rochester radio legend Jack Palvino and media scholar Tom Proietti will discuss the history of radio in Rochester in the “Rochester Radio Roadshow” on Thursday, May 31, from 2 to 3 p.m. at St. Ann’s Community at Cherry Ridge in Webster.

The “Roadshow” takes the form of a lively conversation between Jack and Tom on Rochester’s radio broadcasting history. It will also focus on Jack’s esteemed career in local radio including stations WBBF and WVOR and his role in shaping the media landscape in Rochester.

Jack Palvino is a legendary broadcaster known as both a beloved on-air personality and a successful station executive and owner. Tom Proietti is the Resident Scholar in Media at St. John Fisher College and Professor Emeritus of Communication at MCC. A commentator on media issues for WXXI, he is well known for his expertise and insights on mass media, broadcasting, and popular culture.

The event is FREE and open to the public. Reservations are requested. Call (585) 697-6701. For more information, check out the Facebook event here.

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The entire community is invited to Challenger Miracle Field’s Opening Celebration on Sunday June 3 from 1 to 4 p.m.

If you haven’t seen this field yet, you really have to make the time to do so. This brand new facility was specifically designed for individuals with physical and or cognitive challenges and fully wheelchair accessible. The idea was to give people with developmental, physical or intellectual disabilities a barrier-free, safe, accessible place to experience the health benefits and joy of play through baseball, other team sports, and adaptive recreational equipment.

This weekend’s celebration is even more special as it marks the first full year the field will be in play (so to speak).

Opening Day festivities will include lots of stuff for kids, including a glitter tattoo artist, face painter, balloon animal artist,  an appearance by Spikes (the Rochester Red Wings mascot), a bounce house, carnival games, a dunk tank, popcorn machine, sno cone machine, cotton candy, vendors, refreshments and a raffle.

And don’t worry about the sun; there’s going to be a huge tent with plenty of tables and seating.

Everything happens at Challenger Miracle Field, in Ridge Park, behind Town Hall on Ridge Road, rain or shine.

Click here to find out more about this great organization.

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Puppies and yoga. This appears to be a new thing, so it’s natural that Webster’s newest fitness studio will be trying it out.

ROC & Soul Fitness will be offering a Puppy Yoga class on Sunday, June 10 at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.  Adorable puppies will roam throughout the room as you practice an all level Vinyasa Flow class. Participants can hold and pet the puppies as they practice yoga. Many of the puppies will be available for purchase and are looking to go to a good home.

This from the press release I received:

We all know that yoga is good for the mind, body, and soul. Puppies & Yoga has added health benefits. Pet therapy combined with yoga can provide physical and mental benefits. It is widely known that positive interactions with gentle, friendly pets can lower blood pressure, release endorphins for an overall calming effect, lift spirts and lesson depression, decrease anxiety, reduce loneliness, and much more. Man’s best friend not only makes this class a delight, but can leave behind some positive health effects.

To reserve a spot in class, you can purchase a pass on the ROC & Soul Fitness website or on the MindBody APP for $18 to non-members and $9 to members.

ROC & Soul Fitness is located at 43 East Main Street, one of the new businesses which is helping to revitalize the village of Webster.  They offer barre, yoga, fusion classes, and more.

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This looks like fun.

On Wednesday June 13, three local craft breweries — WhichCraft Brews, Knucklehead Craft Brewing, and K2 Bros. Brewing — will come together to host a “Webfield Beer Crawl.”

A limo bus shuttle service will be provided from 5 to 1 p.m. on a 15-min loop between all three locations. Each brewery will be producing a special release one-off double dry hopped beer in a style of their choosing for the event.

Each brewery will have a passport package available for sale BEFORE the event. It costs $15 and gets you a commemorative pint glass with all three breweries printed on the glass as well as a free pour of the special release DDH beer from each location!

If you’re driving, parking is encouraged at Baytowne Plaza.

Check out the breweries’ websites for more information.

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Damascus Cruise Nights return

21 May


Classic car enthusiasts will love this news:  the Damascus Center Cruise Nights are back for the summer.

There are lots of cruisin’ options around Rochester throughout the summer, but this one is historically one of the biggest — and I have to say one of the best. Run annually since 2008, it attracts up to 300 classic and vintage cars, kit cars, muscle cars, trucks and motorcycles every summer Friday night, and as many as 1,000 spectators.

There’s always plenty of parking, great food (the fish fry is legendary), raffles, indoor and outdoor seating, clean restrooms (always a plus), and an incredible view of Irondequoit Bay which no other cruise night can offer.

The family-friendly Damascus Shrine Cruise Nights take place at the Shrine Center, 979 Bay Road, beginning June 1. The fun starts at 5 p.m.

For more information, check out the event’s Facebook page here.

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