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Webster community mailbag

1 Apr

I’m going to lead today’s mailbag with a few items from the Webster Public Library. They’ve always got a lot of really neat stuff going on.

For starters, when I stopped in the other day I saw that the Friends of the Library are selling some rockin’ t-shirts as a fundraiser. For $15 you can be as cool as these library staff members/models:

Coming up on April 11, the library will be celebrating National Barbersop Quartet Day by hosting an online concert featuring three local barbershop quartets. Webster is lucky to be home to an outstanding barbershop society, the Chorus of the Genesee, so you know they’re going to be a part of this. Two of the performances you’ll see that day were filmed at the Chorus’ home base, the Harmony House.

The concert will be streamed live at 3 p.m., Sunday April 11. It will also be available any time after that time to watch, but it’ll be neat to watch it live, so mark your calendar.

Here’s a brief round-up of this month’s adult prgrams at the library:

  • Favorite Cruises & Ports of Call Travelogue, Tuesday, April 6, 3 p.m.
    Webster resident John Bustard will be the guide in a visit to the British Isles, Italy, Greece, the Panama Canal, Alaska and the Caribbean.
  • Interested in Serving as a Library Trustee? Wednesday, April 7, 7 p.m.
    Learn about the basic functions and responsibilities of a trustee, and listen and ask questions of our current Board members.
  • Herb Gardening: An Online Program, Tuesday, April 13, 7 p.m.
    Participants will learn the benefits of herb growing from their beauty and use in cooking, to their medicinal uses and healing properties.
  • Debt: An Online Presentation (Part 1 of the Financial Series), Wednesday, April 14, 7 p.m.
    Learn simple strategies for living debt free and making smart decisions.
  • Home Ownership: Choosing to Buy Versus Rent (Part 2 of the Financial Series), Wednesday, April 21, 7 p.m. Discusses the pros and cons of owning your home ownership vs. renting.
  • Planning for Retirement: An Online Presentation (Part 3 of the Financial Series) Thursday, April 29, 7 p.m.
    Covers the basics of retirement including financial concerns, phases of saving, financial lessons and more.

These programs are all free and open to the public but registration is required. Visit the Webster Public Library website for more information and registration. A Zoom invitation will be sent (via email) the day before the program to everyone who has registered.

I have Webster Online to thank for these next few news items. If you haven’t checked out this new(ish) news website yet, click here to take a look Or you can always find a link over there on the right side of the blog. There’s a lot of great information there (and a weekly link to my blog).

Knights of Columbus moves out of Barrett Drive

After 40 years in their same location on Barrett Drive across from the post office, the Webster Knights of Columbus Center is moving.

As with many changes taking place in the last year, Covid-19 is the culprit. Thanks to the pandemic, the Knights lost a lot of revenue from community events they would normally host. The financial hit was just too much to manage, resulting in the difficult decision to move.

Fortunately, the Knights will not be moving far. Their new home will be in the old Holy Trinity School annex on Ridge Rd. just east of the village. They hope to open the new location sometime this summer and continue the great work they do for our community.

Town Board in-person meetings return

Beginning April 1 all Town Board meetings will reopen to the public — with restrictions, of course.

To participate in person, visitors must wear a mask and maintain social distance at all times. Seating will be limited inside the board room and visitors will be rotated in as necessary, based on cppacity.

Meetings will still be available for viewing live on Spectrum Channel 1303 or on the Town’s website. There continue to be opportunities for public comment during the meetings by calling 585-872-7011. Or, residents can submit comments and questions using the online Board Meeting Comment Form.

Village of Webster Board meetings are still being held via Zoom. For more information and links, visit the Village of Webster website.

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What can be done with that ugly West Webster corner?

20 Jan

Every once in a while I remember to log onto the Town of Webster website and check in with Supervisor Flaherty’s weekly column. Usually I find something interesting and perhaps even learn something I didn’t know.

When I was doing that recently, I came across a column he wrote back in September which addressed a thorny issue I’ve thought about often: cleaning up the corner of Ridge Rd. and Gravel Rd. in West Webster.

You know the place: the Jade Palace Restaurant sits on the northeast corner and the old Webster Furniture Strippers on the northwest corner. The restaurant itself is pretty unslightly and overgrown, but the former Furniture Strippers shop is even worse. It’s downright decrepit, an embarrassment to the hamlet.

I had heard for years that the reason the Furniture Strippers shop has not yet been razed was due to environmental concerns regarding the chemicals they used, which seeped into the ground. Basically, the property is a toxic waste site, and no one wants to take responsibility for it.

Supervisor Flaherty goes into a lot of political background in his column about how the owners have defaulted on their taxes, meaning the county can take possession of the property. But because of the environmental issues, the county wants nothing to do with it. You can read all of that background here if you’d like. But I was interested in the bottom line: when will someone bulldoze that building?

Here’s what he had to say about that:

The first part of the plan is to get the DEC reports on the building in the last 30 years and if they show that the environmental issues at the site are “minimal or non-existent,” the County may take title to the property and market it for sale. At that point, a developer most likely would want to buy it if they saw the cost to take down the building was NOT going to have hundreds of thousands of dollars of environmental remediation. If the DEC reports are not definitive enough to have Monroe County take title, we will move on to plan B which most likely entails a phase 1 or 2 environmental study of the property to determine the true environmental risk and what needs remediation.

All of which means this issue is STILL not going away anytime soon. But Supervisor Flaherty does assure us that he’s still working on it, writing,

I am not comfortable just throwing my hands up and saying “oh well… nothing we can do. It’s Monroe County’s decision.” Fact is, the property is IN Webster. It is an eyesore at best, and a safety risk at worst. It also is impeding the development of that corner and all neighborhoods that spawn off of it.

Let’s hope his commitment stays strong. West Webster deserves better.

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Where has Missy been?

7 Jan

This blog thing can be a capricious beast. Some weeks I have so many blog ideas that I have to make a list lest I forget something. Other times — like these last few weeks — those ideas have been few and far between. Now that the holidays have passed, there seems to be little going on, at least that I’ve been told about.

Finally, though, something came across my dining room table/office desk that sparked my interest: the latest edition of the Webster Today.

You may know this publication as the former Town Times, what it was called during Supervisor Nesbitt’s tenure. This is the second edition of this new and improved quarterly newsletter. The first was published in October and I was immediately impressed by its glossy, full-color layout and the clean and organized way it presented information.

This latest edition continues to impress. Some of my favorite features, again, include

  • a table of contents right on the front cover
  • a complete town government directory on the inside cover, perfect for tearing off and putting on the fridge
  • photos of the town board members
  • LOTS of information about the Rec Center
  • handsome photo illustrations and colorful charts

There’s also a nice visual spotlighting several of the positive things that happened in 2020, including opening of the outdoor ice rink at the Rec Center, the re-imagined Summer Celebration and the Parade of Lights. There’s even a fascinating 2-page feature compiled by the Webster Museum highlighting almost two dozen Webster residents who fought in the Civil War and are buried in town cemeteries.

Every home and business in the town received a copy of Webster Today this week, so if you haven’t gotten yours yet, keep an eye out for it. And if you tossed it in the recycle bin without even looking at it, I recommend you rescue it and take a closer look. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

And by the way, if you know of anything going on in town you would like me to blog about, please email me!!!

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

Webster Police Chief Joe Rieger announces his retirement

11 Dec

After more than 30 years in the Webster Police Department, Police Chief Joe Rieger will retire in mid-January.

Rieger has led the department since 2015, when he replaced retiring police chief Gerald Pickering.

In a letter he wrote to the community, Rieger said,

It has been a great honor and privilege to serve as your Chief of Police for nearly 6 years. However, the time has come for me to retire from the Webster Police Department and pass the leadership torch to someone else.

The decision to retire has been bittersweet for me. I am looking forward to retirement, but I will miss serving the public in this role and the camaraderie that exists amongst police officers.

Throughout my time as your Police Chief, I have been blessed with overwhelming community support. I sincerely appreciate that support and I hope your support for the Webster Police Department will continue into the future. Thank you for everything you have done through the years to help the Webste Police Department serve this great community. I will miss you all.

In my “job” as Webster blogger, I’ve had occasion to cross paths with Chief Rieger many times, most recently at the Village of Webster Holiday Parade of Lights. He was always very friendly, helpful and professional, and I wish him the best of luck in whatever he chooses to do in his retirement.

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You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

Welcome Chris Bilow to Webster Parks and Recreation

30 May

chris bilowA hearty — albeit delayed — welcome to Chris Bilow, Webster’s new Commissioner of Parks and Recreation.

Bilow has replaced Mark Yaeger, who recently retired after 19 years with the department.

Bilow comes to Webster after working for almost 18 years at the Penfield Recreation Center, most recently as Recreation Director. He said that “it was the only I job I had any interest in leaving Penfield for,” mostly because it meant coming back to work in his hometown Webster, where’s he’s lived for more than 30 years.

During his 19 years with the department, Bilow’s predecessor, Mark Yaeger, oversaw  the creation of the new Parks and Recreation building on Chiyoda Drive, the First Responders Playground and water spray park, and helped spearhead the installation of Challenger Miracle Field.

“He did an awesome job setting the stage,” Bilow said. “His leadership really set this department up for the future with programs and space and meeting the needs of this community.” Now he’s looking forward to continuing that legacy.

“As a resident (of Webster) for 32 years, I’m obviously familiar with what’s gone in, and I see so much more that we have the ability to expand on.”

“I think we need to build on the relationship between this department and the community, become a greater presence.” To that end, Bilow hopes to improve the department’s communications efforts, doing things like posting weekly updates, and taking better advantage of social media.

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Welcome, Supervisor Flaherty

3 Jan

IMG_2580

Tom Flaherty, center, takes his seat as the Webster’s new town supervisor. 

I stopped by the Webster Town Board meeting last night for their organizational meeting, at which a handful of new (and returning) Board members were sworn in. They included our brand new Town Supervisor, Tom Flaherty.

In last November’s election, Flaherty unseated seven-term supervisor Ron Nesbitt, with 54% of the vote.

The crowd at the meeting was standing-room only, packed with family members and well-wishers who were there to watch the swearing-in ceremonies. Flaherty’s contingent was perhaps one of the largest; his wife and seven children were there, and his mother held the Bible during the swearing-in.

I hope to sit down with Flaherty sometime soon (perhaps grab a pint at Barry’s, good Irish lad that he is), after which I can give you some more insight into who Tom Flaherty is and what e might mean for our town. In the meantime, here’s a little background I pulled from a story posted by WHEC Channel 10:

Flaherty is a graduate of St. Bonaventure with a degree in finance and has lived in Webster since 1997.

He says he plan to run for office, but he saw a chance to serve his town and felt “the time was right.” He believes he was able to defeat Nesbitt because “the makeup of the town has changed, so it’s time for the town’s representation to reflect that change.”

One of his goals (which was one of the planks on his platform) is to extend the supervisor’s term to four years, and create a two-term limit.

You can see Channel 10’s full interview here.

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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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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

 

Webster community mailbag

30 May

mailbag iconThere’s a whole pile of great events coming up in the next few weeks, starting this coming weekend.

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The Webster Marching Band will hold their annual spring bottle and can drive this Saturday June 1 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. They’ll come to your street, so all you have to do is bag up your returnables and put them outside your house, near your house or garage, making sure they’re visible from the street. DON’T leave them out at the street, and DON’T put them out overnight, so no one else decides to make the rounds and snag them.

You can also drop off your donations before 4 p.m. at Webster Schroeder High School, 875 Ridge Rd. And remember, the band operates a 24-hour bottle and can hotline. Call 234-8684 any time and leave a message. Someone will be back in touch to arrange a pickup time.

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Grab your kids and their bikes and head on out to the Bicycle Skills Rodeo on Saturday June 1 from 10 a.m. to noon, hosted by the Webster Police Department.

Held in the Town Court parking lot at 1000 Ridge Road, the event will give kids a chance to practice bicycle safety skills and learn about proper helmet fit.

Make sure to bring your bike and helmet. There will be a few extra helmets on hand for children who do not have them, but — really? All kids should own helmets and use them.

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The Webster Aquatic Center will host its Webster Youth Triathlon this Sunday June 2.

The event, which includes a swim, bike and run, is for children from kindergarten through age 16, and is scaled according to age. Kindergartners, for example, will swim 25 yards, bike a mile and run a 1/4 mile. Older kids will swim 150 yards, bike 4 miles and run a mile. There’s also a team relay option.

The swim will take place at the Aquatic Center and the run and bike portions on the Webster Schroeder campus.

Cost is $15 before June 2, $20 the day of the event. The first 200 participants will receive a goody bag and t-shirt.

To register and for more details, call the Webster Aquatic Center at 585-670-1087. You can also email race director Missy Whipple with questions, at missyw26.2@gmail.com.

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Microsoft Word - Spry Evening Of Jazz Concert.docx

Prime Time Funk (provided)

The Webster community is invited to the annual Spry Evening of Jazz on Friday June 7 beginning at 7 p.m. at Webster Schroeder High School, 875 Ridge Rd.

 

There’s no admission charge for this concert, which will include a performance by special guest Prime Time Funk.

This should be a great evening of incredible music from our talented youngsters and outstanding Prime Time jazz artists. All for free!

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Webster’s Joe Obbie Farmer’s Market will open for the season on Saturday June 8. Many of your favorite vendors will be returning, and several new ones are also expected.

The market is held at Webster Towne Center Plaza (Kohl’s Target Plaza) near the gazebo in front of Old Navy. It runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday through October. You’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses, baked goods, jams, honey, maple syrup, plants, herbs and flowers and crafts.

Also, this Saturday look for a Town of Webster booth where you can meet and chat with many of your town and county officials, first responders, and community organization representatives.

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BARBARA KILLIP-2

Barbara Killip (Adrian DeJesus Photography)

Finally, congratulations to school bus driver Barbara Killip, who was recently named the Webster Central School District Transportation Department’s Employee of the Year. 

Barbara and transportation colleagues from throughout the area were recently honored at a brunch hosted by the Rochester Area Transportation Supervisors Association.

Our bus drivers do an amazing job keeping our children safe and aren’t always fully appreciated, so I love to see this recognition.

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

Changes are coming to Sandbar Park

17 Jan

document

You may have heard that the Town of Webster is engaged in a long-term project to upgrade the facilities at Sandbar Park, located on Lake Road. The park has long been known as the best place in Webster to watch a summer sunset, but the little strip of land has a lot more potential than that.

Right now, the park features access to both Irondequoit Bay and Lake Ontario, has some wetlands and a wooded area. It was originally purchased in 2003, and as the Town has paid off the bond, nothing much has been done with it aside from adding a parking lot and a few picnic tables. But as the project has moved forward, residents are already proposing some new ideas.

In a story posted to the WHEC Channel 10 website last summer, Supervisor Nesbitt mentioned some of those suggestions.

One of the things people have brought to us is they would like to have a handicap pier so people can go out there to fish in the bay. A shorter pier,’ he said, adding ‘we would also like a destination for paddle boards and kayaks, so people can bring those in and launch them from that area into the bay. We would like to work with the restaurant in some way in how to incorporate that into the scheme.

(You can see the whole story here.) 

In 2015, the Town received $118,000 in state funding to create a committee and start formulating some design ideas for improvements to Sandbar Park. On Wednesday January 23, the committee will present their ideas at a public information meeting.

Members of the project committee will be there along with representatives of Bayer Landscape Architecture, who’s working with the Town on the project. Webster residents are encouraged to find out more about what they’re thinking, and ask questions.

The meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Town Board Meeting Room, in the Justice Court Building, 1002 Ridge Road.

If you’d like to stay informed of everything that’s happening as the progress progresses, visit this website to sign up for project notifications, and click here for the project’s Facebook page.

Here’s another upcoming meeting you might want to know about:

The Town of Webster and Rochester Transit Authority have scheduled a public information meeting on Monday Feb. 4 to discuss bus serice to and from Webster.

The meeting with the Transit Authority will give Webster residents, business owners, and others an opportunity to ask questions on how employees and others might find transportation from other areas in to Webster for employment and shopping opportunities.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Town Board Meeting Room, Justice Court Building.

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email me at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

 

Please mark your calendars for this important meeting with the Rochester Transit Authority.

Those $%#*@!& leaves!

2 Jan

Pile of autumn maple colored leaves isolated on white background.

If you’re a homeowner like I am, chances are very good that sometime in the last month you had a conversation with someone about leaves.

This was an awful fall for leaves. It was so rainy and snowy that it was almost impossible to get all the leaves raked up and pushed to the curb in time for the town trucks to pick them up. So if they’re still hanging out in piles at your curb, it’s easy to be angry at the town. But, as Supervisor Nesbitt reminded us in his most recent column, the town workers did the best they could, given the circumstances.

He wrote,

This year has been the worse year for leaf pick-up in my 24 years as being a Town Board member. I cannot remember a year where the Highway Department put out leaf equipment and they switched to snow plow equipment and vice versa as many times as this year.

The town tried very hard through social media to keep Webster residents informed about our pick-up schedule and when the Highway would get to various streets. With the 36 miles of town roads it was not always an exact date, but we tried our best.

I have received some phone calls that leaves are still out to the curb and residents would like them picked up. Most of these leaves were put out by contractors, who were also behind on their routes, after the town crews had winterized the vacuum equipment and put it away for the year. We will not be picking these leaves up.

Bottom line, if you still have leaves, you’re going to need to bag them. Your trash hauler is required to take the bags, although they may limit the number of bags each week, so check with them. (For example, our trash hauler, Suburban, will only accept eight every week, which means that we’re still putting some at the curb every Tuesday night.)

Sandbar Park update

The supervisor had another bit of interesting news in his column.

On Wednesday January 23, a committee working on improvements to Sandbar Park will hold a public information meeting in the Town Board Meeting Room.

The Project Committee and representatives of Bayer Landscape Architecture will be on hand to present the designs they’ve come up with so far and to answer questions. The meeting time has not yet been announced; watch the Webster Herald or Town Board website for more details.

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email me at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.