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St. Pat’s at the pubs

12 Mar


St. Patrick’s Day, the High Holy Day of the Irish year, is just around the corner, and plans to celebrate in the village are beginning to kick into high gear.

Webster’s newest pub, Ploty’s Hometown Tavern, will be joining the fun this year in a big way.

Owner Eric Plotzker has renaimed his establishment “McPloty’s” in honor of the holiday, and has rolled out some extra special t-shirts and beer cozies, plus LOTS of great drink specials to commemorate the pub’s new (albeit temporary) Irish-ness.

He’s hoping for good weather so patrons will also be able to enjoy his patio.

Ploty’s is located at 27 West Main Street, on the lower level (where the Vino Lounge used to be).

Webster’s very own, nationally-ranked Irish pub, Barry’s Old School Irish is also planning a big splash, of course, kicking off St. Patrick’s Day week on Tuesday March 13, when the pub welcomes its friendly Barry’s Runners group at 6:30 p.m. Runners and walkers of all abilities are invited to join in for a wee bit of exercise and a lot of socializing. Participants will receive Guinness give-aways and free tastings after the run.  Plus, the Foxhunters will be hosting a traditional Irish music session, and the Rochester Academy of Irish Dance will perform at 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday March 14 is Trivia Night, sponsored by Guinness with prizes for first, second and third places, and best doodle. This is always a fun time and always packed with teams, so reserve your table by e-mailing

Thursday March 15 will feature a special menu, paired with selected Irish brews and whiskeys. At 7 p.m., a Jameson rep will be in the house, and from 7 to 10 p.m., the always entertaining Kenny Snyder and Bob Grocki will play some live acoustic rock.

Barry’s Crossing will provide entertainment on Friday March 16, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.  Dancers from the Jamieson Irish Dance school will perform at 8:30 p.m., and there will be Guinness and Jameson giveaways all night.

Finally, on St. Patrick’s Day proper, Barry’s will be opening the doors at 8 a.m. and have a non-stop day of entertainment, good food and drink until 2 a.m. To accommodate the expected crowds, they’ve arranged to have the sidewalks barricaded so people can spill out into the (hopefully) warm weather.

Entertainment will be provided all day by The Foxhunters, Barry’s Crossing and Everheart; two Irish dance schools will perform, whiskey reps will be handing out samples, Bagpiper Jack will walk through sometime, and of course there’s going to be some great food and drink.

There’s so much going on that day that you have to check out the Facebook page for details.

Barry’s Old School Irish is at 2 West Main Street, at the village of Webster’s four corners.

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Village Band begins their 51st year

10 Mar


It’s a sure sign of spring when I get an email from the Webster Village Band.

The band will officially begin the 2018 season — its 51st year — on March 15 when they hold their first rehearsal at Willink Middle School.

The group is made up of more than 50 musicians of all ages, led by Director Tom Indiano and Associate Director Sue Siegmund. New members are always welcome to join. For more information, contact Harvey Cohen at (585) 738-6980, email, or perhaps just pop in on one of the rehearsals to meet everyone!

The band’s regular Thursday night summer concert series will begin in June and run through September. Concerts are held in the band shell at Harmony Park on Phillips Road.

You’ll be reading more about this tremendous village resource in my blog as the concert season nears, but in the meantime, find out more details on the band’s Facebook page here, and the village website, here.

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PEEP Show returns to Rec Center

5 Mar


I have said this before, but it bears repeating.  I don’t like Peeps.

You know, I’m talking about those yellow marshmallow chicks and every other iteration of Peepdom that has since been introduced. I kind of put them in the same category as those faux-orange circus peanuts. They squeak when you bite on them.

That being said, I definitely will be attending the third annual Greater Rochester Peep Show scheduled for March 17 and 18 at the Webster Recreation Center. It’s a fundraiser for the Webster Community Chest, and 20 other local nonprofit agencies, and it is the CUTEST THING EVER.

The show will feature more than individual works of art and dioramas made with multi-colored Peeps or based on the a Peeps theme. Some of my favorite creations at last year’s event were the train station created by the Heritage Square Museum and the baseball field, entry from Rochester Miracle Field. (Click here for a small photo gallery from last here.)

Organizers are still soliciting entries for this year’s event. Prizes will be awarded in several categories. Plus, there’s a brand new “Spring Bonnet Parade” category, in which  participants are encouraged to decorate a hat with at least one Peeps candy on it. Make it funny, silly, gorgeous — whatever you like!  This is a great project for families and community groups.

There’s no charge to enter and your artwork will be returned after the show if you want it back.

So check out the photos for ideas and START YOUR PEEPS! You can get a lot more information and details on the Greater Rochester Peep Show website.

The show will be held at the Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive, on Saturday March 17 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday March 18, noon to 4 p.m. Admission to the show is free.


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Strike Back Martial Arts joins national registry

24 Feb

STRIKE+BACK+Logo+Extra+SmallCongratulations to my friends and colleagues at Strike Back Martial Arts, which has recently been accepted as a member of the Adaptive Martial Arts Association (AMAA).

The AMAA is a national organization which describes itself as

a resource for students and instructors to gather and share ideas, curriculum and other adaptive training information while promoting disabled inclusion and helping to break down martial arts training stereotypes associated with the disabled.

Strike Back, owned by Mike Palmer and Dave Nicchitta, is a perfect fit for the organization. In 2015 the jujitsu dojo introduced their Jujitsu Buddies class, designed for children with autism, and just last year began a brand new Strike Back Fitness program specifically designed for children and teens with Down syndrome. Both programs have been very well received and have grown since their introduction.

After they had established those programs, Nicchitta said,

We had been looking to align ourselves with organizations that coupled martial arts and special needs (adaptive) programs. This seemed to be exactly what we were looking for so I reached out to them regarding membership. …We received approval a few weeks later and as a result are listed on their national registry along with other schools across the country.

“We are the only Upstate NY martial arts school on their national registry,” he added.

Strike Back Martial Arts is located at 55 East Main Street in the village. For more information about these and other programs they dojo offers, visit their website or Facebook page.

You can also ask me — I am pleased and proud to say I am part of the Strike Back family, and help teach these exceptional young people.


strike back

I love my Saturday morning Jujitsu Buddies

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Stop the presses!

13 Feb

I only got this notification yesterday afternoon, but it sounds like a fun and worthwhile event which I need to pass along.

ping pong

Come to Webster Thomas High School on Feb 13th from 3 to 5 p.m. National Honor Society Seniors Ben Kazimer, Matt Hill, David Tomer and Will Johnson are hosting a Charity Ping Pong Tournament. All proceeds will go to Honor Flight, Rochester.

Honor Flight is a nonprofit organization created solely to honor America’s veterans and transports them to Washington DC to visit their Memorials free of charge. Superintendent Carm Gumina has challenged Ben to a 1-on-1 game. There will be multiple games at once and winners will receive trophies and gift cards donated by local businesses. Should be a fun time. Honor Flight reps will be on hand to help support this event.

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Webster Thursday Mailbag

7 Feb

Enjolras and cast

First thing I want to do in today’s mailbag is remind everyone that Les Miserables opens Thursday night at Webster Schroeder High School.

If you know the story and the music, you know why you want to see this production. If you don’t know the story or the music, trust me — you’ll want to see this production. I got a taste of it several weeks ago when I was working on another article for the D&C, and even though the numbers were still very rough around the edges, I came away very impressed.

I got my tickets about a week ago, and they were already pretty scarce. You can take your chances at the door, or go online here to purchase them for will-call.

Showtimes are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 each and reserved seating only.

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A quick shout-out to the Webster Rotary Club, who this Saturday will be welcoming home members of the 3-126 AVN Army National Guard platoon, who are returning from a 6-month tour in Afghanistan.


This is the eighth platoon the Rotary has sponsored in the last nine years. Normally the platoons have been from Fort Drum, but this time the Rotary was able to connect with a local unit from the New York Army National Guard.

To date the Webster Rotary has sent 536 care packages to the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The celebration is being held at the National Guard Reserve Center in Chili.

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Show the love this Valentine’s Day by donating blood. Two blood drives coming up in Webster next week make that easy to fit into your schedule.

The first is Monday February 12 at Holy Trinity Church, 1460 Ridge Road (east of Phillips Road), from 1 to 7 p.m. The second is Tuesday February 13 at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church, 813 Bay Road, from 1 to 6 p.m.

Call 1-800-RED CROSS  (733-2767) to make an appointment, or just stop in. It will only take ah hour out of your day, and will help save three lives.

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The First Baptist Church of Penfield’s next Flapjack Saturday Community Fundraiser will be held Saturday January 20, from 8 to 10 a.m.

The  menu includes pancakes, pure maple syrup, scrambled eggs, sausage, and more for just $5.00 per person.

All February proceeds will benefit RESOLVE, a group dedicated to intervening and preventing domestic and sexual violence against women.

Breakfast is served at the church, 1862 Penfield Road. The venue is handicap-accessible. For more information, call 585-586-2876, log onto, or visit them on Facebook.

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Do you have a little one starting kindergarten this fall? This notice is for you.

The first opportunity for parents to register their children for kindergarten is during Kindergarten Parent Orientation on Tuesday, February 27, at 6:30 p.m. at your student’s school.  Parents will have an opportunity to learn about the kindergarten program, meet staff, and tour the school.

Kindergarten registration packets and all related paperwork for the 2018-19 school year are now available on the district website and in all elementary schools. To download the packet, go to, click the Central Registration button, then the REGISTRATION – 2018-19 Kindergarten link located on the left side of the page. The packet and related paperwork are located at the bottom of the page under Downloads.

Parents who cannot attend Kindergarten Parent Orientation may take the completed paperwork and all necessary documents to their children’s school during Walk-in Registration Days, February 28-March 2, 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Staff will be available to review your paperwork as you wait.


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Bella’s Bumbas feeling the love

5 Feb

Marty with chair

A few weeks ago, you might remember seeing a story in the D&C (which I reposted here in my blog) about Bella’s Bumbas, a terrific Webster-based organization run by Rebecca Orr and her husband Marty Parzynski, dedicated to building miniature wheelchairs for children with a wide variety of mobility issues. Already, more than 250 have been shipped around the world.

Marty and Rebecca don’t charge anything for the chairs they build, asking only that each family cover the shipping cost.  So, basically, Bella’s Bumbas relies on donations of money and materials like seats, tires and bubble wrap.

They’ve already been getting a lot of support from local businesses and kindhearted individuals. But since my article appeared … well, let me quote the excited text I got from Rebecca:

Just wanted to let you know something’s going on since/due to your article. (Webster Library staff members) are now collecting air packs and bubble wrap and have an ENTIRE can full so far and more to pick up. Webster Presbyterian Church donated $500, a local businessman’s club brought us a check for $2,000, someone is sending us 100 summer seats, and 15 high backs, plus some smaller cash donations and (we) have made about 30 more chairs!

I wanted to share that text with everyone for two reasons:

  • Thank you to everyone who have sent donations of any kind to Marty and Rebecca. They are wonderful people who are making children smile, in most cases providing these children the ability to move around on their own for the first time in their lives.
  • Please consider showing your support. Believe it or not, one of the things they really need is bubble wrap. Just like the staff members at the library, perhaps the people at your place of work could start saving the bubble wrap in the deliveries you get.

Monetary donations are being collected at Bella’s Bumbas GoFundMe page, or you can send a check directly to Bella’s Bumbas, 1170 Ridge Road, PMB 208, Webster, NY 14580.

And definitely visit the Bella’s Bumba Facebook page, where you can get more information and see videos of many of the kids these chairs has helped. So many smiling faces, as these children discover mobility for the very first time in their lives.

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Benji’s Pizza and Grill opens in BayTowne

3 Feb

IMG_20180203_095007437_HDR (1)

I believe that a town can’t have too many pizza places. There are so many different ways to make a pizza — lots of sauce, little sauce, thick crust, thin crust, crunchy crust, flat  pepperoni, chunk pepperoni… and then there’s WINGS! It’s nice to have a variety to choose from.

That’s why I was pleased to find out that a new pizza place opened up just a few weeks ago in the strip plaza in BayTowne by the new Walmart.  It’s called Benji’s Pizza and Grill, and it didn’t take me long to check it out.

I met one of the owners, Jim Benjamin, who told me he’s been in the restaurant business since he was a teenager, in roles from kitchen help to cook, and has run several of his own places.  Benji’s is his latest endeavor, and he has high hopes for it.

Benji’s is located in the former Jack & Jill’s daycare in the small plaza located on the north side of Brandt Point Drive (which is basically the main Walmart access road.) When Benjamin and his business partner were looking around for just the right place for the new restaurant, they really liked the location. After all, thousands of people drive by there every day to go to Walmart and the condo development. But transforming it from a child care center into a restaurant would be a lot of work.

“When we walked in, I could see the potential for building a nice open kitchen, which is what I like to do,” Benjamin said.  So they got to work and spent a full six months renovating the building,  originally hoping to open by last October.  But, he explained, “every time we knocked down a wall, we’d go, let’s knock down one more wall. It slowed us down.” They finally opened their doors the first week of January.

The result is a large (3,000 square feet), bright, uncrowded place that feels more like a family restaurant than a pizza joint, complete with a separate banquet room and some very homey decorating touches. (And a sparkling women’s restroom that might be larger than my kitchen.)

The menu features a wide variety of lunch and dinner favorites including burgers, wings, quesadillas, wraps, subs — and pizza of course. And Benjamin takes pride in the fact that he buys everything locally.

Later this spring, customers can look forward to a new ice cream room with two outside serving windows, and an enclosed outdoor seating area with a gazebo and umbrella tables.

If all that sounds very family-friendly, you’re right. That’s exactly the atmosphere that Benjamin is going for. So you won’t find a noisy bar or even any alcoholic drinks, just plenty of space for parents and kids to enjoy a nice dinner.

And don’t be surprised if Jim Benjamin himself comes over to your table and invites you to have your family photo taken under the Benji’s logo. It’s a new tradition at Benji’s, but I have a feeling it’ll be going on for a long time.

Benji’s Pizza and Grill is located at 1998 Empire Blvd. Visit them online here, on Facebook here or call them at 585-446-0600.

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Rochester Rhapsody delivers Valentine’s Day in song

24 Jan

RR ACC 2017 - Cropped Website sized

Got a sweetheart you really want to impress this Valentine’s Day? The Rochester Rhapsody Chorus has got you covered.

The Webster-based Rochester Rhapsody Chorus is an organization of female a cappella singers specializing in the barbershop harmony style. They’ll be offering Singing Valentines on Valentines Day to local community members whose admirers are looking to deliver messages of love and friendship in a special way.

Vocal ensembles will travel throughout the greater Rochester area to deliver Singing Valentines to sweethearts, co-workers, family members and friends at various locations, including assisted living facilities, workplaces, schools, hospitals and restaurants.

Recipients will be treated to Valentine music in four-part a cappella harmony delivered by an ensemble in Valentine’s Day attire, along with a rose and card with the sender’s personalized message.  “Ringing Telegrams” (telephone singing valentines) are also available for recipients who live out of town.

Members of the chorus will deliver pre-ordered Singing Valentines on Wednesday, February 14 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Valentines must be pre-ordered and scheduled by calling (585) 414-7243 or emailing Special prices will be offered for ordering early, or ordering more than one Singing Valentine.

All proceeds from the Singing Valentine fundraiser go to benefit women’s vocal and performance education for the non-profit chorus.

Rochester Rhapsody meets every Monday evening at the Harmony House, 58 East Main Street, Webster. For more information about how to get involved, visit their website or email

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Comedy hypnotist brings show to Schroeder

9 Jan

jasonIt’s been a quiet start to the new year. Perhaps everyone — including me — has been hunkering down trying to will away the cold and snow. But now that the holidays are officially over, it’s time for me to get back to work…


Let’s start with this event, which promises to be very funny, and is a fund-raiser to boot.

The Episcopal Diocese of Rochester will be sponsoring nationally-known comedy hypnotist Jason Christopher, who will bring his show to Webster Schroeder High School on Saturday January 13 at 7 p.m.

Jason’s 90-minute show is totally family-friendly. No one gets singled out, and he only hypnotizes groups of people who want to be hypnotized. Proceeds will support 34 different mission projects throughout the diocese.

Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for children under 12, and $15 at the door. Click here to purchase tickets online.

jason 2

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