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Make a rain barrel — be an H20 hero

5 Jul

shipbuilders creek

Early last week I attended a Town of Webster meet-and-greet at the public library, where I met Sydney VanWinkle, who was representing an environmental organization called H20Hero.org. They’re working hard to protect our local water supplies, a precious natural resource.

One of their primary focuses right now is an area called Shipbuilders Creek Watershed, which encompasses (very roughly) the area from Bay Rd. east to Five Mile Line Rd., and Plank Rd. north to the lake. (See the map for specifics.)

When she found out that I live in the watershed, Sydney’s eyes got really big. It’s homeowners like me, who live in the watershed, that she’s particularly interested in reaching, because if we each do a little bit, together we can help their cause immensely.

Here’s a little background information from the brochure I picked up:

Shipbuilders Creek is an eight square mile watershed…discharging into Lake Ontario.

Over the years, the original land use of the watershed has gone from primarily agricultural to a mix of residential and commercial use, including relatively heavy commercialized areas along Empire Boulevard and Ridge Road.

Unfortunately, as the community developed, the value of the Creek as a resource was not always recognized, Sections have been piped, and water quality declined because of pollution from storm runoff.

And this is what we can do:

You can help restore Shipbuilders Creek by making your home part of the solution to storm water pollution. Storm water runoff from roofs and driveways transports pollutants including fertilizers, herbicides, grass clippings, sediment, automotive fluids and bacteria to the Creek.

Downspout connections, rain barrels, rain gardens and streamside plantings are easy ways you can capture and reuse rainwater, or soak it into the grounds, so that it does not become storm water runoff.

rain barrellThere’s a really good opportunity for you to find out more about all of this, and make a rain barrel for your own home, coming up at the Webster Public Library.

On Tuesday July 17, the library will host a Rain Barrels and Rain Gardens Workshop beginning at 6 p.m. Any and all town residents — especially those who live in the Shipbuilders Creek watershed — are encouraged to attend.

In addition to learning about rain barrels and rain gardens, participants will build their own rain barrel which they can then take home with them and start putting to good use.

All tools and materials will be supplied at the workshop. Workshop fee is $40/rain barrel. Pre-registration is required. To do so, click here.  Residents from the watershed area will also receive a $30 gift card for plantings.

If you can’t wait until then to find out more, Sydney will be at the Joe Obbie Farmer’s Market this Saturday July 7, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Webster Towne Center (Kohl’s/ Target Plaza) on Holt Road.

In the meantime, you can read more about the project by clicking here, or email Sydney directly at srv7357@rit.edu.

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Community meetings scheduled this week

24 Jun

 

welcome to webster

So I came across some information mostly by chance about a few community meetings coming up that I think everyone should know about.

The first is the Town of Webster Community Meet & Greet, Monday June 25 from 7 to 8 p.m. in the community room at the Webster Public Library.

Participants will get a chance to meet their state, county and town elected officials, along with first responders and leaders of several community organizations, including the Webster Special Police, who will be recruiting new officers during the event.  It’s a good chance to learn about upcoming projects and ask questions. Bring the kids, too, because there’s going to be some crafts set up for them.

Then on Tuesday June 26, the Village of Webster will host an Open House Meeting at the Community Meeting Room, 28 W. Main Street, to discuss updates to some of the local parks, and other plans for the village.

The meeting is scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

I’m planning to be at both meetings, so I hope to see you there!

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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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Town of Webster opens its doors next weekend

6 May

Capture

Ever wonder what it looks like inside the police department? Have you ever wanted to check out the sewer treatment plant? And have you been at the Webster Library since they renovated it?

You can check out all these places and more when the Town of Webster hosts its annual open house on Saturday May 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The fun starts at Webster Town Hall, 1000 Ridge Road, where you can tour the newly remodeled Town Hall and police department, then head over to the court room and town board room in the Van Ingen Building. Buses will depart every 15 minutes to take people to the recreation center, sewer treatment plant, the library and the highway department.

Basically it’s one-stop shopping for anyone who has any questions about our town’s facilities and employees.

There’ll also be lots of other stuff going on at Town Hall for both kids and adults,  including picture IDs, emergency vehicles, community informational displays, refreshments and more.

There’s no charge for anything, so make sure to stop by for this informational, family-friendly event, Saturday May 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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The mulch is back!

14 Apr

It’s one of the surest signs of spring — the huge mulch pile which consumes a chunk of the parking lot behind Town Hall on Ridge Road every April.

Well, it’s back, courtesy the Town of Webster Highway Department, despite the fact that yard work weather still hasn’t really settled in for good.

The 100% leaf mulch is created from composted leaves picked up during autumn. Town of Webster residents are welcome to back up their car or pick up to the pile and load in as much as you can take. (No contractors or landscapers please.)

There’s no charge but remember that you can only use good ol’ elbow grease to load it up; no machinery or equipment is allowed.

The Highway Department will continue to replenish the pile until the tons of mulch are depleted in the upcoming weeks. The mulch will be restocked as needed and only available while supplies last.

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Mark your calendar for these town events

3 Apr

CaptureThis week’s column by Town of Webster Supervisor Ron Nesbitt is just packed with interesting news which I am pleased to pass on.

Road construction has begun at the corner of Phillips and Schlegel roads. This project will include widening the roadway, widening the shoulders, and completing water main and drainage work.  If the summer weather cooperates, everything should be completed by this fall.

The next Pharmaceutical Waste Pickup event has been scheduled for Saturday April 28 at the Wastewater Treatment Plant, 226 Phillips Road, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Any unused, unwanted or expired medication is taken for disposal. No appointment is necessary.  If you do not feel comfortable with your personal information on the bottles, you can remove the pills and put them in a plastic bag for disposal.

And remember also that there’s a CVS Drug Collection unit at the Webster Town Hall right inside the Police Department entrance.  It’s open during regular business hours, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. As with the pharmaceutical waste pickup, items accepted at the drop box include any unused, unwanted or expired medication such as prescriptions, prescription patches, prescription medication, prescription ointments, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, samples and medications for pets.  Items that are NOT accepted include hydrogen peroxide, inhalers, aerosol cans, ointments, lotions, or liquids, thermometers, needles (sharps) and medication from businesses or clinics

Details are still being worked out, but the annual Town of Webster Open House has been scheduled for Saturday, May 12. Watch for more information soon.

The Town of Webster’s annual Summer Celebration is slated for Saturday June 23 from 4 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. at the Webster Recreation Building, 1350 Chiyoda Drive. It features food trucks, games, inflatables, live music, and fireworks. More information to come about this as well.

Finally, Webster’s newest festival, the Waterfront Arts Festival will take place this year on Saturday and Sunday July 28 and 29 at North Ponds Park. The annual event attracts fine artisans from all over Monroe County. You’ll also find food trucks, live entertainment, a wine tasting booth and other exhibits.

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The pharmaceutical waste box is back!

15 Dec

got-drugs-2I don’t often have to go to Webster Town Hall for business, but I did frequent take advantage of the pharmaceutical waste drop box near the entrance to the police department. So I really missed it when the Town Hall was undergoing renovations.

The good news is, now that the Town Hall renovations are (mostly) done, the drop box is back, and open during regular business hours, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Items accepted at the drop box include any unused, unwanted or expired medication such as prescriptions, prescription patches, prescription medication, prescription ointments, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, samples and medications for pets. Items that are NOT accepted include hydrogen peroxide, inhalers, aerosol cans, ointments, lotions, or liquids, thermometers, needles (sharps) and medication from businesses or clinics.

If you do not feel comfortable with your personal information on the bottles, you can remove the pills and put them in a plastic bag for disposal.

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Welcome back, Town Hall!

8 Dec

town hall

Town Hall is back, and it’s looking beautiful.

Last weekend, the Big Move took place, when everyone and everything from Town Hall operations moved back from their temporary headquarters in the Van Ingen Building, where they have been since April while Town Hall itself was being renovated.

It was long past time for the 60-year old building to get some much-needed renovations. They included removing asbestos, enlarging the restrooms, enhancing security inside the building during working hours, adding a lunch room for employees, upgrading the facilities inside the Police Department, and enlarging the building department, assessment and finance areas.

There’s still a lot to do, though. Now that all of the major work is complete, there are still some minor maintenance projects, IT work, and grounds clean-up. Plus, they have to re-hang some photos and signage.

In the meantime, though, the Town Hall is back to its regular operations and regular hours. And if you want to check out the new and improved Town Hall for yourself, mark your calendars now for the town’s open house in May (I don’t know the specific date yet, so you might want to block off the whole month).

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Town Hall renovations are done!

26 Nov

town hall

I received some very good news from the folks at Town Hall a few days ago: the renovations are done and all Town Hall operations will be be moving back into the building on Monday, December 4.

In preparation for the move, the temporary Town Hall (in the Van Ingen building) will be closed on Thursday, November 30 and Friday, December 1.

The Town Hall building has been closed since April as much-needed renovations were completed. The renovations included enlarging the restrooms, enhancing security inside the building during working hours, adding a lunch room for employees, upgrading the facilities inside the police department, enlarging the building department, assessment and finance areas, upgrading the interior of the building, and taking out the asbestos left in the building.

The Webster Justice Courts and the Webster Police Department will remain open to the public during the moving process.

The newly renovated Town Hall will be open for business on Monday, December 4 for regular business hours.

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Tuesday Webster mailbag

16 Oct

Today’s mailbag begins with a follow-up on a blog I wrote several days ago about our neighbors from the Webster Presbyterian Church and Penfield Presbyterian Church.  Ten church members are right now in New Jersey, preparing to assist help with continuing efforts to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the area five years ago.

Today I received a photo of most of the group members, taken just before they left town. Two other members will be meeting them in NJ.

file

The missionaries expect to be working on a home in Brigantine, NJ, where they will be installing flooring, hanging interior doors, installing trim, painting and possibly hanging kitchen cabinets. Then they’ll head to Atlantic City, where they will help repair a deck, finish some drywall and do some painting.

They’ll be returning to Webster on October 21.

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There will be a pharmaceutical waste pickup at the Wastewater Treatment Plant, 226 Phillips Road, on Saturday, October 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Any unused, unwanted or expired prescription and/or over the counter medications will be accepted for disposal. No appointment is necessary.

If you don’t feel comfortable with your personal information on the bottles, you can remove the pills and put them in a plastic bag for disposal.

The event is part of the DEA’s 14th annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. This is a great opportunity to rid yourselves of those old pills, especially since the drop box normally located at Town Hall is inaccessible while the building is being remodeled.

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The Town of Webster Highway Department will start the annual Leaf Pick-Up on Monday, October 23, weather permitting. Every effort will be made to pick up leaves on a weekly basis until the week of Monday, December 4th. At that time, a final pass will be conducted throughout the town, starting from the west side to the east side.

If anyone has any questions regarding the annual Leaf Pick-up, please contact the Highway Department at 872-1443, Monday through Friday between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

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WVFD open houseI’ll be posting more about this event next week, but here’s a preview of a fun activity for the kids.

The Webster Volunteer Fire Department will hold their annual open house on Saturday October 28 during the Village of Webster’s Trick or Treat Trail.

The fire house at 35 South Avenue will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with giveaways, refreshments, fire equipment and safety displays, demonstrations, and special activities for children of all ages.

Special events and activities will include: free doughnuts, cider and coffee for the adults; lots of fire trucks and emergency vehicles for the kids to check out and sit in; helmets and coloring books for the kids (while supplies last); the “burning house,” which kids can “put out” using a real fire hose; and lots of opportunities to chat with our local first responders.

And of course, firefighters will be handing out candy for all the trick-or-treaters.

For more information, visit the WVFD Facebook page.

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