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Tuesday Webster Mailbag

5 Dec

I’d like to start off today’s mailbag with a few events happening at the Webster Public Library.

December 2016 (2)

All this month, the library is hosting a photography exhibit, Photographers in our Midst, in the main area of the library. The exhibit will run through December 28 and feature the talent of outstanding Webster photographers.

Stop in anytime the library is open to enjoy the images that have been captured by our own neighbors.

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Harry Potter fans, take note: The Webster Public Library is planning a Hogwarts Yule Ball right at the library.

Witches, wizards and muggles are all invited to the library on Friday December 29 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. for an evening of magical fun in the Great Hall. Enjoy tasty refreshments, music and dancing. Don’t forget to wear your formal wear or finest dress robes to attend the ball, and make sure to visit Hogwart’s classrooms for fun crafts and activities!

Some of the activities include: House Badges & Personalized Hogwarts Acceptance Letters; Potions making in Potions Class; Wand making in Defense Against the Dark Arts; Spell Books in History of Magic; Golden Snitch Ornaments in Charms; Music and Dancing; Quidditch Matches; Scavenger Hunts; Costume Contest, refreshments, a photo booth and more.

Tickets are $2 per person and will be available for purchase in-person ONLY (at the Webster Public Library) through December 15. Tickets are limited, so register early. Call 585-872-7075 if you have any questions.

Ticket price covers all activities, but there will be additional items for available for purchase.

American St. Nick to Visit the Webster Museum

On Saturday December 9 at 2 p.m., Richard Brookins will visit the Webster Museum during the museum’s open house, to share a story of kindness from WWII.

It was December 1944 in Wiltz, Luxembourg during WWII, Brookins was assigned to the small town of Wiltz for a brief respite. The town had recently been liberated by Allied forces after four long years of German occupation.

It didn’t take long before Corporal Harry Stutz discovered that the children of Wiltz had not been allowed to celebrate St. Nicholas Day during the occupation. Over the next few days the American soldiers organized a party, complete with a St. Nicklaus — Pittsford (and former Webster) resident Richard Brookins.

The story does not end there, despite the town being overrun only days later. You can hear the very happy ending at Brookins’ presentation on December 9 at 2 p.m. at the Webster Museum, 18 Lapham Park. Admission is free.

TheAmericanStNick with angels dec 5 1944

photo courtesy WWII Foundation

Santa and Pancakes

The First Baptist Church of Penfield’s next Flapjack Saturday Community Fundraiser is going to be so much fun that Santa will be joining you!

On Saturday December 16 from 8 to 10 a.m., enjoy pancakes, pure maple syrup, scrambled eggs, sausage — and a visit with Santa — all for just $5.00 per person.

December proceeds will go directly to help support Cameron Community Ministries.  Their mission is to provide hope to our community through emergency services, engagement, education and empowerment, offering after-school and summer programs, meals, an emergency pantry, and a clothing house.

The First Baptist Church of Penfield is located at 1862 Penfield Rd. 585-586-2876

Webster Central Schools to run early dismissal drill

On Friday December 22 — the last day before the holiday break — all WCSD students will be dismissed early as part of the district’s annual emergency preparedness early release drill.

The drill is a yearly requirement designed to test the district’s plan for the early dismissal of students.

Parents need to be prepared for their students to be dismissed early and arrive home by bus early on December 22. Please note the times listed below are the dismissal time (in parenthesis) and the bus departure time, and are effective for Friday, December 22 ONLY.

  • Webster Schroeder and Thomas high schools: (2:10) 2:20
  • Spry Middle School: (2:15) 2:25
  • Willink Middle School: (2:25) 2:35
  • Dewitt Road, State Road, Plank North, Schlegel Road and Klem South elementary schools:  (3:15) 3:25
  • Klem North and Plank South elementary schools: (3:05) 3:15

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Thankful for the little things

23 Nov

thankful-heart-a_std_t_nvMost 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.

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 the list I’ve posted every Thanksgiving, and which I add to every year.

This is the original list, posted in 2013:

I am thankful for:

My husband, my kids, having a nice home and enough food for the table, my cats, my karate family, my job, friends at my job, good neighbors, good health, my family’s good health, my terrific in-laws, my father, my siblings, the color and crunch of autumn leaves, flowering trees in the spring, rain on the porch roof, Easter baskets, Tiny Tigers, line-dried 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, baby giggles, holding hands with my husband, memories of my mother, 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 Glee with my daughter, my new Barry’s family, baby snuggles, naps, after-dinner walks, sleeping in, “Caledonia,” my kids (I know that’s a repeat, but they continue to make me proud), hiking, fuzzy pajama pants, rainbows, my cat keeping me company while I write…

Three years ago, I added:

new friends, coffee and a newspaper in the morning, Friday nights at Barry’s, cool summer sheets, birds at the bird feeder, Tom, Sarah and Mike, my kids (yes, again), writing my column, all of my readers, sunrises, making people smile, the sound of crickets, wildflowers, the aroma of fresh-baked apple pie, ice cream anytime.

Two years ago, I added:

I am thankful for my new karate family; my new Tiny Tigers; my children Sean, Sara and Erin (again); my new(ish) daughter-in-law Sarah; Tom and Nick; hanging laundry out in the middle of November; my health; the ability to run; the freedom to travel; my misfit WOF family; Irish music and my Irish music friends; getting to play roadie; touch football with my pub family; my CFC friends and workouts; going to hockey games with my family; Sunday afternoons sitting at my computer and writing.

Last year I was able to add to it AGAIN:

This year, I am thankful for my Schlegel and Plank North elementary colleagues, hugs from kindergartners, a child’s innocent smile, the Barry’s Runners, my kids (again), admiring Christmas lights on a winter run, biking the Erie Canal Trail with friends, hikes in the woods, music, silence, waking up every morning with the man I love, being able to travel, 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.

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.

And so I would like to add the following this year:

I am thankful for a husband who cooks, 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, running with old friends, running with new friends, 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. 

Feel free to add your own. And happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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Bourbon lovers, unite!

15 Nov


Wine lovers have had their day — OK, lots of them — with the Webster Wine Walks. Now bourbon lovers are getting their turn.

The Webster Business Improvement District BID) and Webster Wine and Spirits will host a Bourbon Bash this coming Saturday November 18 from 6-9 p.m. at the Harmony House on East Main Street.

This is Webster’s very first Bourbon Bash for Webster, and it’s shaping up to be a really neat event.

Organizers have invited many local and well-known bourbon vendors to set up in the Harmony House for tastings. Several local restaurants will also be on hand to complement the bourbons, including Pub 235, The Coach, Gioia Mia Catering, Webster Hots, Smoking Hot Chicks, The Village Bakery and Brimont Bistro.

BBQ Blues Band will provide entertainment as attendees sample great bourbons from distilleries including Heaven Hill, Black Button, Elijah Craig, Iron Smoke Whiskey, Honeoye Falls Distillery, Jim Beam, and more.

Tickets are $20, available at the BID website and Hegedorn’s Market 964 Ridge Road.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Challenger Miracle Field to help finish the local field for challenged athletes.

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Pay it forward this holiday: Help Make Spirits Bright

13 Nov

making spirits bright

There’s an awesome organization here in Webster doing awesome things for families in need this holiday, and they could use your help.

Making Spirits Bright, created by Jamie Buss, Colleen Bedford, and Jeanette Wittmeyer,  was founded in 2014 with one simple mission: to provide smiles for families in need during the holiday season. For many families in our area, the holidays are not a joyous time, as parents struggle put a decent meal on the table, let alone purchase Christmas gifts for their children.

The organization works with area school counselors and social workers to identify families that need assistance. Then they collect wish lists from each of the family members and begin collecting items.

To date, Making Spirits Bright has spread holiday joy to 90 families — almost 50 adults and children. This year they’re set to help almost 50 more.

That’s a huge challenge. So far many businesses (34 of them!) have already adopted entire families outright. But there are a lot of family lists left to fulfill.

This is where you can help.

If you click here, you can see the Google spreadsheet where Jamie has organized all of the families’ wish lists.  Just scan the list, find a gift (or two, or more!) that you’d like to purchase, and fill in that blank on the list. You can sign-up to purchase as many items as you wish, from as many different people as you wish. Jamie will arrange collection and delivery once the gifts have been purchased.

This is a great holiday activity for the entire family, or for your small business, by the way.

If you have any issues connecting to the list (it’s not very mobile-friendly), email for help.

Making Spirits Bright will also gratefully accept monetary donations, which go to purchase any items on the lists which were not adopted. If you prefer to help out in that way, click here to go to the Making Spirits Bright GoFundMe page.

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Photos from Barry’s anniversary

12 Nov


Barry’s Old School Irish hosted another epic party last night, this time in honor of the little pub’s 6th anniversary.

As the Barry’s pub family has grown, it’s become commonplace for these occasions to be rather well attended, and last night was no exception. Even before Barry’s Crossing took to the stage (er, corner) at 7:30, the place was shoulder-to-shoulder with well-wishers, and it pretty much stayed that way until I left around 11:30.

Add Jack the bagpiper, some Jamieson Irish dancers, free whiskey, and a bizarre green man into the mix, and it made for a terrific evening.

Here are a few photos from the evening, and you can click here to see many more.

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A thank you from the WCSD

22 Oct

I’m pleased to post this thank-you letter from the Webster School District following a very successful senior citizens’ dinner.

Webster Central School District celebrated the 46th Annual Senior Citizens’ Day on Thursday, October 19. Senior Citizens from throughout the community joined us at Webster Schroeder High School for a day filled with friends, superb student entertainment, wonderful door prizes donated by local merchants, and a delicious turkey dinner prepared by Webster CSD Food Service, served by some of our high school students. An additional 50 volunteers helped with bus loading and unloading, registration, and morning refreshments, and a contingent of elementary school students aided in the distribution of door prizes.

These One Webster festivities could not be possible without the generosity of so many!

Thank you to the following community businesses and organizations for their generous support of this special day: Trident Precision Manufacturing, Webster Community Chest, Webster Lions Club, Eggert & Coles, D.D.S., Webster Kiwanis Charitable Foundation, Stan Drabik, D.D.S., Bill Gray’s, Empire State Weeklies and the Webster Herald, Hegedorns Market, Kittelberger Florist and Gifts, Painting with a Twist, Schutt’s Apple Mill, Ann Kowal and Special Care Systems, LLC, Jerry Christopher and State Farm Insurance, Walmart, Webster Central PTSA, Wegmans, Jeff Scott and Willard H. Scott Funeral Homes, and various anonymous donors.

On behalf of the Webster Central School District and the Webster Board of Education, I would like to express our sincere appreciation to those listed above as well as to all who shared their time and talents with us on October 19. Thank you!

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Webster group travels to NJ for hurricane relief

13 Oct

Webster Presbyterian Church

As news from Hurricane Maria is still grabbing headlines, a group from Webster hasn’t forgotten another devastating storm, Superstorm Sandy, which hit the Jersey coast five years ago.

An adult mission work team from Webster Presbyterian Church will travel to New Jersey from October 15 to 21. where homes are still being rebuilt following the storm.

Ten men and women will make the trip, nine from Webster Presbyterian Church and one from Penfield Presbyterian Church.

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.

While they’re in New Jersey, the group will be staying at the Community Presbyterian Church in Brigantine.

Thank you, Webster friends. Good luck and be safe.

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Webster Monday mailbag

1 Oct

Happy October! Here are a few local events to start filling up those empty calendar pages.

st. rita

St. Rita Craft Sale

St. Rita School will hold its 33rd annual Craft Sale on Saturday October 14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

100 vendors will be set up throughout the school’s gymnasium and classrooms, selling all sorts of unique items. Food will be available for purchase, and raffles for winning. Plus, there’s plenty of free parking.

St. Rita is at 1008 Maple Drive in West Webster. Call (585) 671-3132 for more information.

Organ Concert 

The Webster Baptist Church will host an afternoon of organ music on Sunday October 22, featuring the famed Chapin Pipe Organ. It begins at 3 p.m.

There’s no admission charge, but a free will offering will be gratefully accepted. The Webster Baptist Church is located at 59 South Avenue, in the village of Webster.


Here are a few fun Halloween events for kids at the Webster Public Library:

Teen Halloween Party

This event is just for teens, a special Halloween party filled with all kinds of fabulously frightening fun.  Teens are encouraged to come in costume for a costume contest. You’ll be snacking on some devilishly good treats and create some unearthly crafts.

The party’s scheduled for Thursday, October 25 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Teens in grades 6-12 are welcome. Registration opens Wednesday October 4. Click here

Library Trick-or-Treat Night

Children of all ages are invited to put on their costumes and trick-or-treat around the entire library on Thursday October 26. Afterwards, enjoy games, activities, snacks and lots of spooky fun for the whole family.

The fun happens from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and no registration is required.

The Webster Public Library is located at 980 Ridge Road. The entrance is at the rear of the plaza.

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Board recognizes Village Band on important anniversary

29 Sep

Webster Village Band members George “Skip” Mayo, Sylvia Farnand, Barbara Midura, and Sylvia Hungerford listen as Mayor Darrell Byerts reads the proclamation.

Can I see a show of hands? How many people reading this right now know that the Village of Webster has a Village Band?

I’m hoping there are a lot of hands up out there. Because believe it or not, this year marks the 50th anniversary of our Webster Village Band, a fact that was recognized Thursday night at the Webster Village Board meeting.

Just about every Thursday during the summer, the band presents outdoor concerts at the band shell at Harmony Park on Phillips Road. Add to that several special performances at events like the Farmer’s Market and their annual Christmas concert, and that adds up to more than 600 concerts in the band’s long career.

Barb with plaque

Band member Barbara Midura with the plaque.

That’s pretty impressive for a group that started out with just 10 members in 1967. Today that number has grown to about 60, and the band has become a treasured village asset.

The proclamation presented on Thursday recognized all of this, plus its humble beginnings on a stage in a converted school bus.  Several Village Band members were on hand to accept the recognition, which also included a congratulatory plaque.

You can read a little more about the Village Band in an Our Towns East Extra column I wrote about them in July, 2015.


The summer concert schedule has concluded, but there’s still one more chance this year to check out the band, at their annual Christmas concert. The date for this hasn’t been announced yet, but I’ll post it here when I find out, or you can keep checking the Village Band website.

Mayor Byerts mentioned that he was able to attend the band’s last concert of the summer, where he made several video recordings. He’s hoping to put them up on the village website, so stay tuned.


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Coming together as one

14 Sep


red car

Today, I share a short story about community.

My husband Jack and I were riding along the 104 bike path early Wednesday evening. We were headed east near Five Mile Line Road when we came upon a small car in the ditch. The driver, a 30-ish woman, had swerved to avoid another car which had cut her off, and ended up going off the side of the road. The tracks in the mud indicated her car traveled a good 100 feet or more before it stopped.

Being first on the scene, we immediately parked our bikes and ran to check on the passengers, which also included a young girl and a 3-month old baby.  Everyone was all right, although Mom was understandable pretty shaky. We chatted with the driver and I called 911.

Before we knew it, another three cars had stopped by the side of the road and four more people joined us. Everyone immediately fell into a different role.

One woman knelt down near the driver-side door for what seemed like forever, patiently comforting the driver and eventually convincing her to get out of the car and stand up on the bike path.

One man guided the young girl and her little brother up to the path, while another helped the driver contact her boyfriend to come pick her up.

Jack helped coordinate, I held the baby and kept the kids company on the bike path.

Before long, a young West Webster firefighter showed up. He and the other men worked together to pull the car out of the mud and drive it up to the side of the road. A NYS Trooper who had joined us suggested to the driver that we get her car off the highway while they waited for her boyfriend to arrive. So I slipped into the driver seat and drove the family to Lowe’s.

In the end, everything turned out OK. No one was hurt and the car had only suffered a scratch. The real story here is how caring people are.

Everyone who rushed to help came as strangers, and left as strangers. But for 45 minutes of our lives, we were one community — one family — simply helping someone who needed help.

Because that’s what good people do.

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