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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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The Friends have been busy

20 Nov

friendsSeveral days ago I received my quarterly newsletter from the Friends of Webster Trails. These are always very well written, informative and packed with photos. But this latest edition particularly impressed me in one big way: there were three PAGES of news about all of the projects that the Friends (and their friends) accomplished this year.

Let me sum them up a bit:

  • The Friends have created a new “Pink Trail” at Whiting Road Nature Preserve. The trail is a short loop into the woods on the west side of the Orange Trail. The trail was enhanced in September with two boardwalks constructed by Sebastian Kulak for his Eagle project.
  • Webster Thomas senior Nicholas Hanby recently completed a new trail at Four Mile Creek Preserve as part of his Eagle project. the short, scenic trail follows Salt Creek to a bench and table near the south end of the property.
  • FWT president Hal Harris and some of his handy friends further enhanced Four Mile Creek by installing a new set of stairs, allowing hikers to take a short cut to the north side of the res trail where it parallels the creek.
  • There’s a new entrance to the Big Woods from Pellett Road, thanks to the efforts of the hard-working volunteers who attended FWT’s summer workdays. The previous entrance from Pellett had a very steep section that was getting a lot of wear, and has now been closed.
  • Alex Groff, of Scout Troop 110, has constructed a new trail kiosk at the Hojack Trail, just west of 250 in the village where it crosses the trail.
  • Finally, there’s all sorts of exciting things happening with the Hickory Bark Woods, that small wooded area just north of the library, adjacent to the Ridge Park sports fields. One trail through those woods has existed for a while. More recently, however, FWT Scout Liaison Eric Turberg and several other volunteers installed a platform in the park. Matt Morrison of Troop 363 and Truman Mortillaro of Troop 262 have constructed a boardwalk leading to the platform. The plan is for the Webster Public Library to use the woods, and the new platform, for outdoor programs.

That’s an amazing amount of work, and that’s just one summer’s worth of effort.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: we have an amazing trail system in our town, and the Friends of the Webster Trails are the folks to thank for that. These dedicated volunteers spend hundreds of hours every summer creating new trails, improving existing trails, removing invasive vegetation, installing signage, bridges, steps, boardwalks, and so much more.

If you’re a regular user of any of Webster’s trails, please consider showing them some love by becoming a member of the Friends. It doesn’t cost much (really, just $10 or $15 — check it out here) and the funds they raise go directly to making our trail system better for everyone to enjoy.

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Christmas is in the air at the Webster Museum

10 Nov

It’s going to look a lot like Christmas very soon at the Webster Museum.

christmas treeThe museum’s 2018 Christmas Tree Contest is gearing up. This is a chance for local businesses, community agencies and organizations to get creative and decorate a 4-foot tall Christmas tree in any theme they see fit.

In previous years there have been as many as 20 or more little trees sprinkled throughout the museum, gaily festooned with such a variety of materials that I can’t even begin to summarize them. They make the museum beautiful and a delight to walk through. But the best part is, the public is encouraged to vote for their favorite. The winning organization(s) get $25 prizes.

But for now, the museum needs people who want to do the decorating.  Scouts, families, clubs, groups, or individuals can register to decorate a tree. The trees can be decorated using a room theme from the museum exhibits or any other ideas. Prizes will be awarded in both adult and youth categories.

The trees must be decorated before Friday November 30 and voting begins the evening of Dec 1 as part of the Village of Webster’s White Christmas celebration. Voting continues until the end of December during regular museum hours.

Decorating times are Saturday Nov 24 from 2 to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday Nov. 27 from 2 to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday Nov. 28 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., and Thursday Nov. 29 from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Please call 347-4202 to register a tree, and if you’d like to schedule a different time.

The Webster Museum is located at 18 Lapham Park in the Village of Webster.

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Webster pulls together to make a child happy

8 Nov

If you’re on social media at all, you’ve probably seen the recent coverage of how the Webster community is pulling together to make a child’s dreams come true.

The child is Owen Knight, a sophomore at Webster Thomas High School, and his story begins when his loving aunt Amy posted this on Facebook:

facebook post

Since that post, Owen has been inundated with cards, but that was just the beginning. Channel 13 news picked up on the story and ran a piece on it a few days ago. THEN the Webster Police Department got wind of the story and decided to help Owen live out another one of his dreams, to be in a parade.

They called all their first-responder friends and even got a dump truck, and paraded Owen down Publisher’s Parkway, ending at Webster Thomas High, where he was greeted by his classmates and the marching band.

Click here to see Channel 13 coverage about that incredible event. And if you’d like to see a video of the entire parade, Webster Thomas staff member Linda Dow Hayes made a great video. I posted it on my Webster on the Web Facebook page.

What an amazing community we have here in Webster.

You can still send Owen a birthday card if you’d like. His address is Owen Knight, 1615 Ridge Road, Webster, NY 14580.

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Pickled Paintbrush set to open

8 Nov



At long last, Webster’s newest art-themed shop, the Pickled Paintbrush, is ready to be introduced to the community.

The Pickled Paintbrush, located at 36 East Main Street, will offer art classes, workshops and special events for children and adults. But the studio’s focus will be mostly on children. The primary goal is to have fun, doing unusual projects with unconventional materials.

It’s taken a lot longer than expected for owner Marissa Burke to complete all the renovations (as these things often do), but the results were well worth the wait. The beautiful, completely renovated 2,200-foot studio has two levels. Downstairs is the reception area — which will double as a drop-in, small project area — a smaller studio and a bathroom. Upstairs is a much larger, expansive studio space where Birke plans to larger events and workshops, birthday parties and adult events like date nights.  There’s also a second bathroom, a separate children’s playroom and a kitchenette.

You can check out the new Pickled Paintbrush for yourself on Saturday November 17, when Birke hosts an open house from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. It will feature give-aways, raffles, and of course some fun art projects for both kids and adults.

Click here to find out more details about that, and check out the current list of preschool classes (and a DATE NIGHT!). Registrations are now being accepted, in-store or by phone. For more information email or call (585) 704-8809.

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Webster community mailbag

6 Nov

So many special events coming up in the next week, especially for veterans and their families.

Free dinner for veterans

Are you a veteran or active duty service member? Do you know one?

veterans dayAll veterans and active duty service members and their families are invited to a free dinner in honor of Veterans Day, on Thursday November 8 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at Spry Middle School, 119 South Ave., Webster.

The event is sponsored by the Spry Middle School Student Council, Builders Club, and the Webster-Fairport B.P.O. Elks #2396.

Reservations are appreciated.  Please call Ms. Ritzmann at Spry Middle School at 216-0093.

How about breakfast, veterans? 

The Webster-Fairport Elks Lodge will host a free pancake breakfast for veterans and their families on Sunday Nov. 11 from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Veterans will eat for free, and donations are welcome.

Proceeds will benefit the Elks West District Vets Fund. The Webster-Fairport Elks Lodge is located at 1066 Jackson Road.

Learn more about D Day

Also in honor of Veterans Day, the Webster Museum will present a special program on Saturday Nov. 10 called “The Hidden Story of D Day.”

The program will be presented by Kodak retiree and history buff Jack Kowiak, whom some might remember from his presentation last year at the museum about the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo. This year Jack will present some interesting facts he’s uncovered about D Day, the largest amphibious invasion in history.

The program will begin at 2 p.m. and be about an hour long. Admission is free, the public is invited, and the museum ladies promise the “best cider and donuts in town.”

The Webster Museum is located at 18 Lapham Park. It’s open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 2 to 4:30 p.m. For more information log onto the museum’s website or visit them on Facebook.

Join the Lions for a super steak dinner

The Webster Lions Club will host its Annual Steak Roast on Saturday Nov. 10 at the Columbus Center, 70 Barrett Drive.

The cash bar will open at 3 p.m., and dinner will be served from 4 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 ($10 for children 5-12) which includes a thick, juicy steak, potato, fresh garden salad, bread and your choice of soda.

Tickets will be available at the door, or in advance from Kitchen & Bath Expressions, 1175 Ridge Rd., Webster. For more information call (585) 234-5480, email or log onto

All proceeds to go directly to the Willow Domestic Violence Center and to support Webster other Lions Club charities.

Buy a turkey, give a turkey! 

The Penfield Ecumenical Food Shelf is looking for your help this year with collecting frozen turkeys for their annual Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner distributions.

Sizes can range from 8-12 or more pounds. They ask for everyone to deliver their Thanksgiving turkeys to the Dolomite Lodge parking lot (Veterans Memorial Park on Atlantic Ave.) on Sat. Nov. 17 between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. For Christmas, they’ll collect the turkeys on Saturday, Dec. 22, from 7:30-8:30 a.m. in the same location.

If you would like to donate a frozen turkey, email to let them know.

Caps for Sale! 

Now here’s a clever little fundraiser, based on a popular children’s book, hosted by the Friends of the Webster Public Library.

IMG_E9392Bartholomew Cubbins had 500 hats, and the Friends will be selling more than 260 hand-crafted hats during their Caps for Sale event later this month.

Just in time for a long, cold winter, you’ll find caps, hats and head-warmers of all sorts, made from felt, crocheted, sewn, and woven, for infants through adults. Adult caps will cost $10, children’s for $5. Buy a hat for a gift, for yourself or to hang on the HOPE House’s mitten and hat tree in the lobby.

The sale is scheduled for Thursday November 15 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday November 17 from noon to 4 p.m. The Webster Public Library is located at 980 Ridge Road, at the back of the plaza. Proceeds will benefit the Friends of the Webster Public Library and their programs.

Barre, barre and more barre

ROC & Soul Fitness gives new meaning to the phrase “Barre So Hard” as they gather barre and yoga instructors from other local studios for an epic Barre-A-Thon event on Saturday, November 17.

Barre fitness is a workout that combines the best elements of barre, yoga, Pilates, and functional weight training. Absolutely no choreography, tutus, or leotards can be found in barre class, because barre is NOT a dance class.

roc & soulOwner of ROC & Soul Fitness, Malena Guadagnino and the owner of M/Body, Molly Flaherty, teamed up to create an all morning Barre Class event. They’ve brought together some of the best yoga and barre instructors in the industry, including instructors from: Balance Yoga, Hikyoga, Compass Cycle Studio, M/Body, and ROC & Soul Fitness. Four barre classes will be offered on the hour beginning at 8 a.m. at ROC & Soul Fitness. Participants will have a chance to win prizes from a raffle.

Proceeds from the Barre-A-Thon will benefit GiGi’s Playhouse in Rochester, a learning center that empowers children and young adults with Down syndrome.

To find out more, visit the ROC & Soul Fitness website here or connect with them on Facebook.

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Spaghetti dinner to benefit local child

2 Nov


Liam GogginsH

Here’s just a quick note about another community event coming up this Saturday which I just learned about.

The Goggins family of Ontario will host a spaghetti dinner on Saturday Nov. 3 at the Webster/Fairport Elks Lodge to help defray medical-related costs for their son Liam.

On July 28, 2018, Liam Goggins was celebrating his first birthday when he suddenly stopped breathing. His mother administered CPR, and he was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital, where he stopped breathing again.

Tests showed that Liam’s heart had not developed properly. He was diagnosed with narrowing of the heart’s mitral valve, which was blocking blood flow into the left ventricle. Just days later, he underwent open heart surgery to replace his mitral valve with a mechanical valve. That valve has to be replaced one or two more times as he grows.

This weekend’s spaghetti dinner will help Liam’s parents, Zach and Lindsay, offset the costs of existing and future medical bills. It’s being hosted by the Webster/ Fairport Elks Lodge, 1066 Jackson Road, Webster on Saturday November 3 from 4 to 8 p.m. The dinner will include pasta with sauce and meatballs, salad and bread. A cash bar will also be available.

Cost is $15 for adults, $5 for children under 12. For tickets contact Barb Tegas at or Cindy Van Buren,

The Webster/Fairport Elks Lodge Elks Lodge #2396, located at 1066 Jackson Rd. in Webster, meets the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. throughout the autumn and winter months. They also serve a fish fry dinner every Friday from 6 to 8:00 p.m. For more information call 585-872-1847 or email

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