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Webster Community Mailbag

15 Feb

barrys-old-schoolWebster’s favorite little Irish pub will be hosting its annual Guinness Toast on Saturday night.

As one of the top Irish pubs in the country (no exaggeration — read this blog here for proof), Guinness representatives return every year on Feb. 16 (one month before St. Patrick’s Day) to raise a pint of Guinness with everybody. The event happens on the same evening across the world, so participants know they’re part of something very big.

The official toast takes place at 10 p.m., when everyone will get a pint on the house. There will also be lots of give-aways and Billy Herring will provide live Irish music from 7:30-10:30.

Barry’s Old School Irish is located at 2 West Main Street in the village of Webster.

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Next, some news from the schools.

With the change to new school start times next school year The Webster Central School District is introducing a new before and after-care childcare program called WonderCare. It will be offered at each of the district’s seven elementary schools and will be available to all WCSD-enrolled kindergarten through sixth grade students.

Several information nights have been scheduled, and parents are asked to attend the one associated with their school if at all possible:

• Monday, February 25 at 7:00 p.m. for Plank Road North and Plank Road South at Plank North
• Wednesday, February 27 at 7:00 p.m. at Dewitt Road
• Thursday, February 28 at 7:00 p.m. at Klem Road South
• Monday, March 4 at 7:00 p.m. at Schlegel Road
• Tuesday, March 5 at 7:00 p.m. at Klem Road North
• Wednesday, March 6 at 7:00 p.m. at State Road

These evenings will be geared for parents only. (Family meet and greet nights will take place in August.) If you cannot attend your home school date, you may attend at another location.

If you have any questions in the meantime, visit our new WonderCare webpage at for more information about the program, including pricing structure and FAQs. You can also email or call 216-0017.

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Spry Middle School will host a charity basketball game on Friday, March 1, to benefit Habitat for Humanity and Rochester Wheels.

In the week leading up to the game, students and staff will celebrate Spirit Week. Students will play in-house competitions to earn points toward the coveted Spirit Stick. The spirit competition will culminate on March 1 when the houses play in a round robin tournament. That will be followed by the Spry staff taking on the Rochester Wheels basketball team.

The game will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 and will be available at the door. Spry Middle School is located at 119 South Ave.

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This is fun:

The State Road Elementary School Art Clubs are working on murals for the Rochester Ronald McDonald House. Art teacher Kelly Stevens has her Eagles creating a heart-based mural and a hopeful garden mural. Here are a few photos of some fifth graders working on the heart mural.


Step right up to the Webster Recreation Center for an indoor carnival, coming on March 9 from 4 to 7 p.m.

The event will include dinner, games, fortune telling, entertainment, and lots more fun for the whole family. Two dinner times will be available, 4:45 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Cost is $10 per person, and it’s recommended you register by March 1 to get your preferred dinner seating time. Visit and use program #100001.

For more information, call 585-872-7103.

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Our high school kids will be learning about healthy peer relationships in school for the next few weeks, thanks to a program recently introduced by the Webster PTSA.

The PTSA has kicked off a Healthy Peer Relationships program at both high schools with a social media campaign highlighting the positive behaviors that promote healthy relationships.

The program focuses on friendships and dating relationships. The campaign will be active through May, and include the following:

○ Social Media Campaign
○ Relationship Spectrum Table Tents for Library and Student Lounge area
○ “Love is Respect” Posters around the school
○ “How to Get Help” Signs for Bathrooms
○ “I’m a good Listener” Teacher & Staff Identification
○ #LoveisRespect printing on Junior/Senior Prom Tickets.
○ Activities during Community Arts Day and One Warrior Week

Ask your kids if they’ve seen any of these messages, and have a real conversation with them.

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Don’t forget about the Webster UCC Pet Food Pantry’s Open House on Saturday March 2 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The evening will be your chance to check out this great new community service, spearheaded by the United Church of Christ’s Rebel Beat youth group. They collect pet food and work hand-in-hand with Meals on Wheels to get the donations to clients in need.

You can get a tour of the pantry, meet the kids, nibble on some kibble, and make and take a kitty toy. It’s also a great chance to get a first-hand look at what a typical monthly order is like and even help pack an order.

The pantry is also collecting donations of dry cat food (they’re hoping for 2,400 pounds), so on your way to the open house, please pick up some Friskies on the way! The church is at 570 Klem Rd.

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A Polar Plunge update

6 Feb

polar plungeJust a quick update this morning on the status of the Webster School District’s Polar Plunge team, which will take to the very cold Lake Ontario waters this Sunday at noon to benefit Special Olympics.

I have joined the team.

Together with seven of my Schlegel Elementary School colleagues (Bill Ambler, Dan DeStephano, Meg Dugan, Janet Gibson, Jill Mancini, Greg Pittman, Becky Plouffe), Dan Crowley our captain (my Plank North colleague) and Linda Law from Webster Schroeder, we have raised almost $2500 already.

When I signed up last night I had set a modest fund-raising goal of $100, which was eclipsed in about three hours (THANK YOU Sara, Sarah, Julie and Pat!) I’m now working on reaching $200, at which point I have pledged to throw myself face-first into the lake.

My personal page says I’m still at $100, but it’s actually $150 because of a few donations that were not recorded there yet. So basically, I’m almost there.

Not sure how excited I am about that fact.

If you’d like to help me reach my goal, click here to access my page and consider throwing a few bucks my way. It’s for a great cause (and I mean Special Olympics, not just seeing me go face first into the icy lake).


High schools’ fight songs update!

12 Jan


A couple of days ago I posted a blog about Jason Hammersla, a 1995 Webster graduate, who has written two songs which he hoped might be adopted as alma maters for Webster Schroeder and Thomas high schools.

At the end of that blog I asked readers to let me know of any such songs exist for either or both of the schools. On Friday morning, I got an email from Webster Thomas principal Glenn Widor, who informed me that Thomas does indeed have an alma mater, which is sung at every graduation.

I further heard from Thomas music teacher Brenda Nitsch that Kyle Sackett ’08, alumnus of the Thomas vocal music program, wrote the song while studying music education and performance at Fredonia.

Here it is:

Near the shores of Lake Ontario stands a school which we hold dear.
Webster Thomas, we’ll make a promise to always keep you near.
With every teacher, staff and student our moral compass will be aligned
And together we will fight with her colors blue and white!

Live forever Titan pride!

I still haven’t heard anything about a Schroeder alma mater,  however. If I do, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, here’s the link again to my previous blog where you can see what Jason wrote.

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‘Twas a few days before Christmas….

23 Dec

The village was hopping Saturday afternoon when I went into town for some last-minute Christmas shopping.

The village lights were sparkling, and the folk jam session musicians at Barry’s Old School Irish were in fine form, playing Christmas carols for the entire pub to sing along with. Business owners were enjoying some brisk sales from procrastinating people like me.  And Tom McCoy at Performance Hobbies was hosting his annual Christmas Party, which he’s been doing for more than 20 years. He was decked out in his finest (and most audacious) Christmas finery, and he had food tables set up all around the shop, filled with venison stew, venison chili, meatballs, cheese and crackers, and lots more, for customers or anyone else who wandered into the store to enjoy.

It was nice to just wander through the village, enjoy the sights and sounds of the season, and wind down a bit before the craziness of Christmas Day.

May the next few days be filled with peace and joy for you an yours.

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Santa visits the Elks!

21 Dec

Just a quick note today about a fun event hosted by the Webster/Fairport Elks Club on Jackson Road.

They’ve hosted a group called Crew 333 every Monday night for the past two years, created by Ben Barrow and Elks member Bob Avalon. They had their Christmas party earlier this week, complete with gifts, subs, cake and a visit from Santa. Here are a few photos from the evening:


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Holy Trinity pageant: So much cuteness in 15 minutes

16 Dec


Early this afternoon I had the chance to attend the Children’s Christmas Pageant at Holy Trinity Church. It was probably the most adorable 15 minutes that I will spend this entire holiday season.

About 30 children, mostly 3 to 7-year olds, participated in the production, as Mary and Joseph, angels, shepherds, Wise Men, animals and narrators. Holy Trinity Parish Faith  Formation Coordinator Tricia Kull said the children only had two rehearsals in the last two weeks. But despite having such little time to prepare, she added, she was very proud on how quickly they fell into their roles and remembered what to do and where to stand.

I agree. They nailed it.

The whole pageant from beginning to end was only about 15 minutes. But in that short time, the large audience (mostly parishioners and proud parents and grandparents) was treated to well-prepared narration, passionate acting, angelic singing, a surprise guest and one clearly exhausted angel.

I’ve included a few photos here, but if you’d like to see a gallery of many more, click here.


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Webster community helps to Make Spirits Bright

12 Dec


The community of Webster pulled together in a huge way on Monday night when about 150 children and adults gathered in the Willink Middle School cafetorium. Their task: to wrap 1600 Christmas gifts in two hours.

The event was a culmination of a months-long volunteer effort run by Webster residents Colleen Bedford and Jamie Buss, heads of nonprofit Making Spirits Bright, a program of The Goodness Initiative.

Every year for the past five years, Bedford and Buss have reached out to area schools, social workers and poverty organizations to identify families in need. From there they recruited area businesses, organizations and community members to purchase clothing, necessities, furniture and gifts on behalf of those families.

This year, thanks to the amazing support of the Webster community, Making Spirits filled the wish lists for 47 families, half of them from Webster, bringing the five-year total to almost 200 families.

The scene at Willink on Monday night was impressive. When the volunteer wrappers arrived, they were directed to assigned tables in the cafetorium, each of which was piled high with gifts and plenty of wrapping paper, tape, tags, bows and scissors. Only 20 minutes into the event, the place already looked like Santa’s workshop. But instead of elves, there were high school students, athletes, moms and dads and kids, and representatives from the Webster Police Department, NEQALS, West Webster and North East Joint fire departments.

Here are some photos of some of these amazing people:

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White Christmas in the Village is this weekend

26 Nov

OK folks, now that Thanksgiving is in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to get down to some real holiday celebrating. And it starts this weekend with the Village of Webster’s White Christmas.

fire truck

This annual festival, which takes place this year on Saturday Dec. 1, features horse-drawn wagon rides, a bounce house, cookie decorating, storytelling, carolers, Santa (of course), and the always very popular Electric Parade.

Everything begins at 3 p.m. with activities for adults and children throughout the village. The official schedule looks like this:

3 to 6 p.m. — Horse-drawn wagon rides through the village
3 to 6 p.m. — Bounce House on Main Street
4 to 5:45 p.m. — Santa Claus at the Village Hall
4 p.m. — Storytelling at Yesterday’s Muse Book Store
4 p.m. — Cookie decorating
4:30 p.m. — Rochester Rhapsody Carolers
5 p.m. — Church of the Good Shepherd Chime Bell Choir on Main Street

And do not forget to stop by the Webster Museum that afternoon as well to check out — and vote for — some beautiful miniature Christmas trees.

santaThe Electric Parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Phillips Road and head west down Main Street. This spectacular parade features fire engines, floats and marching bands, all draped in thousands of twinkling Christmas lights. You’ll definitely want to bring the kids, but dress warm, and pack a thermos of hot chocolate, because this is a pretty long parade. Fireworks will follow the parade at 8:15.

(Click here to see a gallery of photos from last year’s White Christmas celebration.)

By the way, don’t forget to start out that morning with a hot breakfast, served up by the Chorus of the Genesee.

The Chorus will be hosting their third annual Breakfast with Santa, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Harmony House, 58 East Main Street in Webster.

Breakfast will be cooked and served, music will be provided by the Chorus of the Genesee, and of course, Santa will be there! Tickets are just $5 each, with a maximum of $20 per family. To purchase a photo with Santa is just $20.

For more information or to make reservations, call (585) 265-9540.

This is a good chance to visit with Santa before everyone else descends on him when he’s at Village Hall later in the day.


When you’re in the village this weekend, make sure to visit some of our village businesses and knock off some Christmas shopping. Two brand new stores opened recently on East Main Street, The Pickled Paintbrush and Lala: Laugh and Love, Always.  And on Saturday a third new business came to town, The North Bee on North Ave. This cute shop offers local honey and hand-crafted items made from beeswax. I’ll be blogging more about them later this week, so stay tuned!

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Another new shop opens on East Main

23 Nov


Tomorrow, as you may know, is Small Business Saturday. Today, many of you are planning to brave the Black Friday crowds and traffic (or already have). But I’m planning to save most of my shopping dollars for the small businesses in our village — and others — who can use our support. 

My first stop tomorrow will be Lala: Laugh and Love, Always, the Village of Webster’s newest (and one of its cutest) shops. 

Lala opened this week at 38 East Main Street. I stopped by to check it out when I was in the village the other day, curious about this new shop which seemed to appear out of nowhere. 

The first thing I noticed when I walked through the door was how awesome this store smells. It was like … walking into a cloud of beautiful aromas, emanating from the array of personal care products that line the walls, shelves and counters of this gorgeous new shop. 


Owner Lisa Schlonski (left) and good friend Rhonda Pacher in the shop. 

Lala is first and foremost a gift shop. But owner Lisa Schlonski — a long-time Webster resident herself — sees it as something much more. She’s created what she hopes is a one-stop shop for people who really want to take care of themselves, physically and emotionally. 

“It’s all about being calm,” Lisa said, “trying to pamper yourself a little bit, with products that are good for you.”

People are really striving for better health these days for themselves and their children, she added. “They’re conscious about what they put on their bodies… I enjoy trying to find those products that help with that.”

So at Lala you’ll find a beautiful variety of oils, soaps, candles, lotions, balms, and bath products. But you’ll also find neck and shoulder wraps, baby products, infuser jewelry, gourmet teas, and unique inspirational items like crystals and angels. There are even some journaling supplies and a rack with crazy socks. 

Basically, there’s something for everyone. 

There’s even something special about many of the vendors. Lisa searches out those businesses that give back to their communities, and support causes that make the world a better place. It’s a decision she made very early in her planning for Lala, and which in part came out of her own devastating life experience: the loss of her husband three years ago.  

“Part of my journey since then has been to find products and work with vendors that are trying to be helpful,” she said. “I want things that are unique. I don’t want things that are sold everywhere. The goal here is work with local vendors and also with vendors that have a great story.” 

It’s not even a week old, but I can say right now that Lala: Laugh and Love, Always is a wonderful addition to the village. It’s exactly the kind of shop Webster needs a whole lot more of: a place which invites people to just wander in and browse, and maybe find a nice little gift which you wouldn’t find anywhere else. 

So stop in, either on Small Business Saturday (tomorrow!), or maybe during White Christmas in the Village on Dec. 1, or some other time. You’ll be glad you did. 

In the meantime, here are a few photos to whet your appetite: 

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What I’m thankful for

22 Nov


Most every year at Thanksgiving, I post a long-winded list of all the things I’m thankful for. It’s an exercise that forces me to pause and think about all the little things in life that I too often taken for granted.

My life has changed in many ways since I first write my “thankful” blog in 2013, as lives tend to do. I’ve gained new friends and new hobbies, and have sadly lost a few close family members. But basically, life is great, love is plentiful, I’m comfortable and happy. And that’s what it’s all about.

So here’s my 2018 “thankful” list.

I am thankful for:

My husband, my kids, having a nice home and enough food for the table, my cats, my karate family, my jujitsu family, good neighbors, good health, my family’s good health, my terrific in-laws, my siblings, the color and crunch of autumn leaves, flowering trees in the spring, rain on the porch roof, Easter baskets, Tiny Tigers, hanging laundry, lilacs, Christmas Eve snow, sunshine, Friday summer nights on the porch with a beer, sunsets, thunderstorms, warm summer rains, starry nights, blankets in the winter, fires in the wood stove, weekends, Christmas lights, writing my blog, hugs, leaf piles for jumping in, crisp new sheets, the summer breeze that comes in my bedroom window, daffodils and baby giggles.

I am thankful for memories of my mother and father, picnics, camping, hot soaking baths, the WOFs, fog in the valleys, puppies and kittens, spooning, Christmas trees on Christmas morning, cinnamon buns right out of the oven, my mother’s banana bread recipe, reading a good book, the sound of crickets in summer, strangers who return my smile, warm apple pie, watching award shows with my daughter, my pub family, baby snuggles, naps, after-dinner walks, sleeping in, hiking, fuzzy pajama pants, rainbows, my cat keeping me company in the bathroom, coffee in the morning, cool summer sheets, birds at the bird feeder, writing my column, all of my readers, sunrises, making people smile, the sound of crickets, wildflowers, ice cream anytime, 

I am thankful for my Barry’s Runners friends and the ability to run, the freedom to travel,  Irish music and my Irish music friends, getting to play roadie, touch football with my pub family, going to hockey games with my family, Sunday afternoons sitting at my computer and writing.

I am thankful for my Schlegel and Plank North elementary colleagues, hugs from kindergartners, a child’s innocent smile, biking the Erie Canal Trail with friends, hikes in the woods, music, silence, waking up every morning with the man I love, Friday nights at the pub (and occasional Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays), the smell of flowering trees in the spring, the peacefulness of a pine forest.

I am thankful for a husband who cooks more and better than me, being able to wear a cape to school, helping children experience the joy of reading, having a lap cat when I type, traveling with my husband, riding my bike through strange cities, thank you notes from my readers, my new fire department friends, my kids (again) and their significant others, and being able to make a difference by doing what I love to do best — write. 

You’d think that would just about cover it. But life gets better every day. All you have to do is sit back and notice it.

If we’re fortunate enough to have a roof over our heads, enough money to live comfortably, and good health, that’s really all we need. But the little things — the intangibles — are what really make life worthwhile. That’s what my list today is all about. I encourage you to sit down for a few minutes and make your own list.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Thank you for being a part of my life.

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