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A bright spot on the web

17 Aug

webster where

It’s hard to find civility on the internet these days. Negativity threatens to overwhelm kindness, understanding and tolerance more and more each day. So when a bright light shines through the gloom, I feel it’s important to recognize it so that others can take hope.

It’s a Facebook page called Webster, Where Life is Worth Living  (WWLIWL). Unlike another well-traveled Webster Facebook page, there is no negativity whatsoever on this one. Bob Blind, the site’s administrator, simply will not allow it.

That admonition is actually the first thing you’ll see when you click into the site. Tacked to the top of the page is this welcoming post:

I wish to welcome all of the new people who have joined this group in recent weeks. Thanks for being here! The original “mission statement” for this group remains the same. Our goal is to have the most helpful and respectful Webster, NY group without all of the drama, sniping, bad language, flaming, and outright nastiness that is on display elsewhere.

As a result, Webster, Where Life is Worth Living is a friendly site where users are actually cordial to one another, and — more to the point — extremely helpful.

Need a recommendation for a roofer or electrician? WWLIWL is the place to go. Want to know about special events coming up in town? They’re posted there all the time. There are beauty shots of Webster and the surrounding area. There’s useful information about all sorts of topics, historical recollections, and so much more.

And it’s all positive.

The site is easy to join; all you have to do is ask. Check it out here and become part of the conversation. Because true to its name, Webster, Where Life is Worth Living is dedicated to highlighting all the good things about our town. And these days, we need to hear about the good things as often as possible.

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Sprucing up for the new school year

16 Aug

A small group of gardeners descended on Schlegel Elementary School Wednesday morning to weed the school’s courtyard.

Webster Schlegel Elementary School’s beautiful courtyard got a face lift Wednesday morning, courtesy a handful of staff members and students, and one dedicated parent.

The courtyard, circumscribed by classrooms and hallways near the middle of the school, is a peaceful spot with a little stream, a pond with fish, a turtle and at least one frog, wildflowers, roses, a step-stone path and some benches.

And very often, lots and lots of weeds.

Schlegel kindergarten teacher Sarah Paprocki has taken the lead in trying to keep the landscaping manicured and the weeds at bay. Wednesday’s effort was part of that, and the small group of gardeners made great strides in cleaning up the area. As the school year progresses, she’s thinking about trying to get the entire student body involved in its upkeep by assigning different portions of the area to different classes.

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Back to school with Webster’s farm market

15 Aug


If you haven’t been down to Webster’s Joe Obbie’s Farmer’s Market yet, this would be a good weekend to check it out, especially if you have kids.

The Farmer’s Market is held every Saturday through October from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm in the Webster Towne Center Plaza (Target plaza) near the gazebo. Regional growers provide locally-grown veggies and fruits, baked goods, plants, maple syrup, honey, meats, and hand-crafted items.

And this Saturday, they’ll be helping kids go back to school by handing out gift bags to the first 50 children, ages 4 to 10, who attend.

That’s just part of the fun, however. The Webster Fire Department will be on hand with fire hats and coloring books for the kids, and a fire truck which the kids can climb into and explore. The Girl Scouts will host a KIDZ Korner at the gazebo with crafts and activities, and Walt Crum will be creating balloon art.

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Bygone blog: OMG! IDK WTH these stickers mean!

10 Aug

This is the fourth in my series of Bygone Blogs, in which I am re-posting some of my favorite blogs from the last 8 years. This one was originally published on February 4, 2013. 

242013 sticker

Have you noticed the recent proliferation of those oval bumper stickers with the initials on them?

I’m sure you’ve seen them. They’re usually white with thick black borders and say things like “ADK,” “SLX,” “QKA” or “BHV.” Most of the time you’ll see just one stuck to a bumper or window, but sometimes they travel in packs. Like yesterday, as I was driving down Ridge Road, I was following a car that had stickers that said SOBX, WEB, NC, EI, SLX and LAX. (He must have been a collector.)

They’re all very confusing. I mean, with your regular rectangular bumper sticker, there’s no doubt where you stand. You’re proud of your honor student. You’ve conquered some mountain. You heart your shih tzu. But I can only guess what “SOBX” means. So what’s the purpose of putting a sticker on your car when YOU’RE the only one who knows what it means?

But these folks are obviously proud of SOMETHING, so I do my best to try to figure them out. Mr. Collector, I have decided, is a very unhappily divorced computer programmer who lives in North Carolina, sells employment insurance and trousers on the side, and has recently flown to Los Angeles.

Now I have to admit that I, too, have one of these oval stickers on my car. It reads “WOF,” and fewer than fifty people in the world know its significance. And I’m OK with that, because it’s important to me and that’s all that matters. So I guess I can’t judge anyone else who has a fixation with these cryptic message stickers.

But I won’t be joining the Association for Silly Stickers anytime soon. And if I do, I will certainly NOT put their oval sticker on my car.

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Santa and Christmas music at the market

22 Jul

Santa and his helpers at Christmas in July at the Farmer’s Market

The crowds were quite big today at the Webster Joe Obbie Farmer’s Market for the market’s annual Christmas in July event.

There were plenty of reasons to visit the market today. Santa was there with candy canes, cookies and toys for the kids. the Webster Village Band played some favorite Christmas tunes, and it’s pretty much peak time of year for fresh fruits and vegetables.

Santa was definitely the main attraction. He arrived at about 10 am in a Webster Fire Department vehicle accompanied by a handsome firefighter, of course (my son), settled into his very fancy Santa throne, and reported that sometimes the line of children waiting to visit with him was quite long.

If you didn’t get a chance to see Santa, don’t worry. He’ll be back next July. But the farm market WILL be back next week at Towne Center Plaza (Target Plaza) by the gazebo, and every Saturday morning through the first week of November, 8:30 am to 1 pm.

Thank you to Amy Weetman and Sarah Rosenberry for being my photographers, and providing some of these photos:

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Sunday Webster Mailbag

15 Jul

Sharon Pratt introduces the day’s activities to the children. 

This is kind of just a mini-mailbag, but I wanted to pass along these updates that were recently emailed to me.

The Webster Public Library and the Webster Museum collaborated on a great educational program for kids last Wednesday. They called it the “Morning at the Museum,” a hands-on opportunity for a small group of 8-10 yrs old to experience Webster’s past.


Jill Kraft explaining artifacts from the Native American display. 

Fourteen children participated, guided by museum staff members and Webster Public Library Children’s Librarian Shana Lynott. They started in the schoolroom with an introduction, then looked at diaries written by Webster children in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The children then went on a scavenger hunt through the museum looking for artifacts and learning about Webster’s history.

Stations set up within the museum’s exhibits gave the kids hands-on opportunities to experience Webster history by making butter, knitting and sewing a bean bag, playing checkers on the checker barrel, stenciling, and playing Colonial games.

Webster Captures District IV 8-10 Championship

Congratulations to Webster’s 8-10 year old baseball team for their recent come-from-behind victory against rival Penfield American in the District IV Championships.

The team, led by head coach Brian Beachner and assistant coaches Glenn Ferretti, Jason Guffey and Tony Fanale, started off the seven-team tournament last Friday with an 11-1 win over Greece Little League.

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The team won its second game last Saturday night 10-0 against Pittsford Little League. The players next took on Penfield American last Sunday, and continued their winning streak with a 19-7 victory. After their three convincing wins in pool play, Webster earned the #1 Seed and faced the #2 Seed Penfield National last Wednesday night in the Semi-Final Championship. The red hot team from Webster proved its dominance again with a 14-0 win setting the stage for another matchup with Penfield American in the Championship Game Friday night.

It was an edge-of-your-seat, back-and-forth contest. Webster trailed 4-0 after 1 ½ innings, but then rallied with a seven-run 2nd inning. Penfield came back, taking a 10-8 lead in the 6th, just three outs away from a championship.

Undaunted, Webster tied it up and the game went into extra innings. Penfield managed to score one more run in the top of the 7th, taking the lead again. In the bottom of the inning, however, Webster scratched out two more runs, winning with a final score of 12-11.

Webster now moves on to the Section 1 West tournament. The team doesn’t have to travel far for Sectional play as local Penfield is hosting the next round of action. Fredonia, Central Amherst, LeRoy & Wellsville round out the five teams competing for a spot in the State Tournament scheduled to start next weekend.

Good luck to the team, and continue to make Webster proud!

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An update on the blood drive

8 Jun

The raffle prize table will be back again for today’s blood drive at the Webster Recreation Center from noon to 7 pm.

The two-day Webster Community Red Cross Blood Drive came back to town yesterday, at St. Paul’s Church, and by all accounts, it has been very successful already.Regular donors who know this blood drive for the coupon packet provided by local businesses were a little surprised but pleased with the new twist this time around. After signing in, each donor was handed 10 raffle tickets, which they could use to try for more than two dozen prizes. Then they were handed a free Red Cross t-shirt, and three other coupons, including one good for a pint of ice cream at Brusters.

All of this before they even sat down. Which means that even if for some reason you’re told you can’t donate blood today (like, my iron was too low again), you STILL get all the freebies just for coming in and trying to donate.

Despite the strong turnout of donors, the wait times were quite short and there were plenty of donation tables to go around. Most people were getting in and out within about an hour.

Today, the blood drive moves to the Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive, from noon to 7 pm. All of those great things will be happening again — the raffle prizes, the t-shirts, the coupons — PLUS the Woman’s Club of Webster will be manning the canteen with home-baked cookies.

So consider taking an hour out of your day to be a hero and help save lives, by coming on down to the Webster Rec and donating. Here are some of the prizes you might win:

  • Gift cards from Abbott’s Frozen Custard
  • Gift certificates from Barry’s Old School Irish
  • Paul Mitchell products from Beyond Cuts Salon
  • Gift certificate from The Chicken Coop
  • Gift card from Eastway Liquor
  • Free hair cut certificates from Great Clips
  • Gift basket from Hegedorn’s
  • Gift basket from Kittelberger Florist
  • Grumblers and pint glasses from Knucklehead Craft Brewing
  • Free month of classes from Matsunami Karate
  • Gift certificate from Natural Alternatives
  • Gift certificate from Ron’s Auto Repair
  • Gift certificate from Rubino’s
  • Fruit gift basket from Schutt’s Apple Mill
  • 10 free classes from Strike Back Martial Arts
  • Decorative vase and Lenox candle holders from The Garage Sale Store
  • A free ice cream cake from The Goodie Shoppe
  • Free month’s membership from World Gym

PS: A Huge thank you to all of our local business owners who have helped make this drive a success.

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Klem South fun night honors former teacher

3 Jun


I never had the pleasure of knowing Mary Ann Gangi, but from what I learned about her on Friday night, I really wish I did.

Mary Ann, who was a third grade teacher at Klem South Elementary, and who had been with the school for more than 20 years, passed away unexpectedly last year.  On Friday night, the school honored her with a joint PTSA Family Fun Night and Mary Ann Gangi Scholarship Fundraiser.

Hundreds of people filled the school’s lawns throughout the evening. Children were kept entertained with a bounce house, face painting, and lots of lawn games. Food trucks and vendors lined the bus loop, along with a silent auction table and raffles. Some of the school’s young musicians even provided entertainment.  And there were lots of cow connections, including cowhide balloons, because Mary Ann loved cows.

It was all a fitting tribute to Mary Ann, whom Klem South Principal Erin Land called a “warm, wonderful person.”

gangi“When you met her, you immediately felt a connection to her because she cared about you,” Land said. “It doesn’t matter where you met her, on the street, in the classroom, she was just that kind of person.”

“The work that she did in her classroom often revolved around peace and mindfulness and community. So we thought this event was a great way to honor her in her memory.”

Money raised at the event will benefit the newly established Mary Ann Gangi Scholarship Fund. Details are still being finalized, but Land believes the fund will go to support teachers who want to continue Mary Ann’s legacy by creating mindful, community-based activities in her classrooms, and for children who want to participate in them.

Donations to the Mary Ann Gangi Scholarship Fund, can be sent c/o Halina Gangi Dooley, Klem Road South School, 1025 Klem Road, Webster NY, 14580.

Here are some images from the evening:

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Stop three on my Tour de Parks … tour

31 May

park collage

Just a quick reminder that I will be presenting my 2016 Tour de Parks talk again, Thursday night at the Brighton Memorial Library beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Still haven’t heard about it? Well, basically, last year I challenged myself to visit every one of Rochester’s east-side parks. I tried to hike a bit in every park that had trails, I took a lot of photos, and recorded my adventures in a blog.

It was a long year, but I accomplished my goal. Mostly.

You can hear all about it at Thursday night’s presentation. Chances are you’ll see a park or two that you recognize, and perhaps learn something about parks you never knew existed.

There’s no admission, and you don’t have to bother registering. But the library folks did promise they’d make cookies (it was the only compensation I asked for). So please do come, because I’d much rather speak to a larger crowd than just a few people. I promise it will be interesting.

And cookies. Just sayin’.

The Brighton Memorial Library is at 2300 Elmwood Avenue.

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Details about Webster’s Memorial Day Parade

28 May


It looks like the rains might hold off tomorrow morning for Webster’s Memorial Day Parade and remembrance ceremony, but make sure to bring an umbrella in case one of the passing thunderstorms should find us.

Monday morning’s parade will begin on Sanford Street (next to Spry Middle School) at 9:30 am, then works its way down South Avenue and onto West Main Street. The parade will conclude with a ceremony at Webster Rural Cemetery, on Ridge Road at Holt.

The parade is always nice, but it is the ceremony which really moves me. Every year, members of our Webster veterans organizations and Scout troops spend several days placing American flags on the graves of thousands of veterans buried in our local cemeteries. You’ll see them peppered throughout the Webster Rural Cemetery, marking the resting places of those who fought for our freedom.


The post-parade ceremony is extremely moving. There are speeches, local officials lay wreaths, and children place flags at the headstones representing all of our country’s wars. And when members of the Webster Marching Band play Echo Taps, I always choke up. I’m thankful that I don’t have to visit my son’s grave in a military cemetery, and cannot imagine the pain felt by those mothers who do. 

I have not been able to attend the parade for the last two years because I’ve been out of town. But this year, I’ll certainly be out there with  my camera, traveling up and down the streets and at the cemetery, so keep an eye out for me!

Here’s a gallery of photos from 2013, a sampling of what this event is all about.

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