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Town and village leaf pick-up details

17 Oct

As the leaves are just beginning to fall with conviction, both the Town and Village of Webster are ramping up their leaf pick-up schedules.

Here’s the information in a nutshell for the town, taken from the Town of Webster website:

The Village of Webster also plans to begin its full leaf pick-up runs on Monday Oct. 19, and continue with weekly passes through the week of Dec. 14.

The plan is to complete a full pass through the village each week, weather permitting. As I recall, the weather last year did not necessarily permit that, so don’t be surprised if the schedule gets a bit messed up one week. Especially later in the season, the runs might take 8 to 10 days.

The Village reminds everyone to :

  • not place brush, rocks, pumpkins, wood, plastic, or other foreign material with your leaves
  • not bag your leaves for Village curbside pickup
  • not place leaves in roadway, or on top of drainage structures, concrete, in gutters, or drainage ditches

The village brush pick-up schedule will continue through the winter months, usually on the first Monday of the month. Click here for guidelines and dates.

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Edna Struck Memorial Park is getting fixed

16 Oct

You may think you have no idea what the Edna Struck Memorial Park is, or where it’s located. But if you live in the village, chances are very good you’ve passed by it many a time, especially if you live on the east side.

Edna Struck Memorial Park is the grassy median where Lapham Park makes a slight jog at the corner of Elm St. It’s named in honor of Mrs. Struck, who made it her passion to tend the plants on the island for years.

In February of last year, someone was driving down Lapham Park much too fast and — instead of navigating the jog in the road — decided to drive right through the park, mowing down the trees and plants, and inflicting significant other damage.

Since that unfortunate incident, the village has been tossing around ideas about how to refurbish the median, including reinstalling the two memorial plaques honoring Edna Struck.

On my walk yesterday afternoon, I saw that work had begun. A handful of village employees were busy putting down and smoothing out some new topsoil. Jake Swingly, the village’s Superintendent of Public Works, told me the next step will be to plant some trees, then finish up the rest of the gardens next spring (as seen in the project proposal below).

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The Town Times has gotten an upgrade

12 Oct

That glossy new magazine you recently got in the mail, with the gorgeous photo of the lake on the cover, wasn’t the latest AARP magazine, Wegmans circular or insurance flyer. It was Webster Today, the Town of Webster’s quarterly newsletter.

Webster Today is a new, improved version of the Town Times. Like the old Town Times, this new magazine format is packed with useful information. But the new clean and uncluttered, four-color glossy layout is a vast improvement.

Here are the things I particularly like:

  • a table of contents right on the front cover
  • a complete town government directory on the inside cover, perfect for tearing off and putting on the fridge
  • photos of the town board members
  • LOTS of information about the Rec Center
  • handsome photo illustrations and colorful charts

In this particular issue you’ll also find the 2021 budget laid out in detail. I’m talking 17 pages of detail.

The Town Times was OK, and provided a lot of information. But kudos to the Town of Webster staff members who envisioned and designed this new publication. It’s a breath of fresh air.

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Webster community mailbag

8 Oct

I’ve got a couple of items for you today, the first coming from our friends at the Webster Public Library.

Their last pop-up book sale of the year will take place this Saturday Oct. 10 from from noon to 3 p.m. in the library parking lot (because the library itself is not open that day). This is especially great news since last week’s sale had to be cancelled because of the weather. This Saturday’s weather, in contrast, looks spectacular.

Fill a bag for just $3 — both cash and checks will be accepted.

This is a great chance to stock up on books for the long winter months ahead. Teachers, this is a great opportunity also to add to your classroom libraries.

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St. Martin Lutheran Church on Bay Rd. will host a pulled pork drive-through BBQ on Saturday Oct. 24, from 4:30 until they sell out.

The take-out dinner includes pulled pork, roll, salt potatoes, cole slaw and cookie for just $10. Proceeds will support the church’s annual Christmas Stocking Project reaching over 500 children and teens in Monroe and Wayne counties.

Pull into the parking lot, place your order using exact payment, and the dinner will be delivered to you as you drive up in your car.

St. Martin Lutheran Church is located at 813 Bay Rd.

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The biannual Webster Community Blood Drive is coming back into town next Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 7 p.m.

This is the drive advertised by all those big white signs posted around town. It’s always a very popular blood drive, in part because in the past, donors could participate in several raffles for prizes donated by local businesses.

In April, at the height of the pandemic, organizers decided to turn the tables and support our local businesses — who were having a hard time staying afloat — by encouraging donors to purchase gift cards, which were then donated to our local first responders.

That was so successful that this month’s drive will be much the same. Gift card and cash donations will be accepted for our first responders for anyone who would care to donate.

So basically, by attending next week’s blood drive, you’ll be saving lives through your blood donation AND through your support for first responders.

The two-day drive will be held on Wednesday Oct. 14 and Thursday Oct. 15, from noon to 7 p.m. each day. It’s in a new location this time, at the Webster Firemen’s Building on Sanford Street, behind the Firemen’s Field.

To assure proper social distancing, appointments will be required. Log onto to sign up.

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Important information about student substance use

22 Sep

There’s a group of folks in our school district who are hyper-focused on keeping our kids safe and substance-free.

They’re called WHEN, the Webster Health and Education Network, and they’re a team of Webster community members including businesses, parents, teachers, law enforcement and healthcare providers who have come together to educate our community about substance abuse.

I recently got a press release from WHEN announcing their newly redesigned website and suggesting some important signs parents should watch for in these COVID-19 days. I wanted to pass some of that information along today.

Here’s some of what that release said:

WHEN:DFCC, Webster Health and Education Network: A Drug Free Community Coalition, has launched a new, more robust website to further their efforts to “Empower Webster kids to grow up strong and substance-free.” The website features prevention information and current activities, along with opportunities for community members to get involved.

There are several COVID-19-related factors WHEN:DFCC would like to make Webster families aware of as kids return to school this month:

COVID-19 is associated with youth use of e-cigarettes. Encourage kids to quit and not to share Juuls, vape pens or cigarettes with others.

Be aware of the poisoning hazard that both liquid nicotine and hand sanitizer can present, and store these away from children and pets.

COVID-19 has raised levels of stress and anxiety for many, which can prompt negative coping strategies like misuse of prescription drugs, drinking, or smoking/vaping. Encourage positive coping strategies instead.

Mental health resources are available to those struggling to cope, or experiencing distress or depression. Please call the NY COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline for free emotional support, consultations and referrals: 1-844-863-9314.

One of the best ways to protect your children is to make sure that all of your medications and alcohol are secured, and unused medications promptly and properly disposed of. WHEN:DFCC has made free drug disposal bags and medication lock boxes available to Webster residents while supplies last. You can pick them up at the Webster Chamber of Commerce at 1110 Crosspointe Lane Suite C, Webster during their regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. And remember that there’s a pharmaceutical waste drop-box at Town Hall, just inside the doors to the police department. 

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Village beauty all around

19 Sep

I wanted to send a quick shout-out and thank you this morning to Jake Swingley, Webster’s Supervisor of Public Works, and his crew for making our village look beautiful these days.

I took a moment on my recent walk to really notice all of the flowers and growing things that line our downtown streets. When those big planters were originally introduced, I admit I was skeptical about how nice they would look, but have been pleasantly surprised by how lush and beautiful they are every year. The flower beds are bursting with color, and the hanging baskets are so artistically overflowing that I want to take one home — but I think it would be missed.

Maintaining all of these plantings takes a lot of time and effort; for example, I often notice the watering guy puttering around town in his golf cart in the morning when I walk, diligently poking a watering wand up into each and every planter.

If you haven’t been in the village recently, or just haven’t taken a moment to look around, make a point to do so soon, and really try to notice the beauty all around you.

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A modest but important remembrance

12 Sep

Friday marked the 19th anniversary of the awful events of Sept. 11, 2001, the day when the world changed forever.

On that day, 2,977 people lost their lives, including 412 first responders. Among them were 343 firefighters from the New York City Fire Department.

Every year since that awful day, the Village of Webster has held a remembrance ceremony on Sept. 11 at Veterans Memorial Park. But like pretty much everything these days, that ceremony was canceled this year. But there was no way that Chief Robert Boutillier was going to let the occasion pass unnoticed.

So he organized a small event of his own, asking all of his WVFD firefighters to gather at the Enderlin Station on South Ave. last night for a short ceremony.

The occasion was not about “pats on the back, speeches, etc.,” he said. “It’s about the sacrifice that was made responding to an alarm as we do each and every day.”

The Chief reiterated those thoughts last night at the station. It was “appropriate and necessary” that we continue to recognize the sacrifice those 343 firefighters made that day.

Chief Boutillier saying some words before inviting all to share a moment of silence.

“We’re not here for speeches or to look sharp in our class A (uniform)s,” or “for people to say ‘thank you for your service,'” he said. They gathered simply to honor those who lost their lives and to offer a moment of silence in respect.

The event was not widely advertised, so only a handful of community members attended. But the fact there were no large crowds did not minimize the evening’s significance. It was just an opportunity for our local firefighting brothers and sisters to honor their own: dedicated New York City firefighters who went to work that morning. not knowing they would not make it home that night.

Among the gear placed outside the station last night in honor of the fallen firefighters was a helmet, emblazoned with the number of firefighters who lost their lives. It was commissioned just a few months after 9/11.

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New Webster cookie shop a dessert-lover’s delight

30 Aug

There’s a new cookie shop in town, and be forewarned: it’s downright dangerous. (At least for anyone trying to stay on a diet.)

It’s called Kiss Me Cookie, and it opened on July 1 in the small plaza at 696 Ridge Rd., Webster (where The Garlic Pit is located). And if you like cookies even a little bit, this is going to become one of your favorite shops — EVER.

Webster residents Pam and Steve Bouteiller run Kiss Me Cookie, both juggling full-time jobs and a one-year old son to do so. While Steve comes in to manage the shop most days, Pam does the baking. It’s something she’s done for a long time, and for the last several years she’s been selling her baked goods wholesale, online and at festivals.

But it was only recently that the young couple decided to take the leap and open a physical storefront.

“I was always way too cautious to do something like this,” Pam said. (Steve’s) been wanting to open a store for years now and I was always too nervous. So we discussed it and we decided that when we had enough money saved up from just our cookie enterprise to open a store then we would open a store.”

As it turns out, that happened right in the middle of the pandemic. Undaunted, however, they started looking for a place in April or May, considering opportunities in Fairport and downtown Rochester before discovering their current location, which is conveniently just down the road from their home.

Then the real work began.

“This kitchen had to be built from the ground up,” Steve said. “We painted, did ceiling tiles, I put in 50 to 60 hours a week in June, but we got it done in a month and opened July 1.”

The Webster community has enthusiastically welcomed Kiss Me Cookie. And for good reason; the variety of baked goods they offer and the creativity and love that clearly go into each one is making everyone who walks in an immediate fan.

Just the aroma that fills your senses when you enter the shop is enough to make your mouth water.

Right now, Steve said that their most popular cookies are the Golden Dough, Salted Caramel and Big Reveal Peanut Butter Cup (this last one is a chocolate chip cookie with a peanut butter cup inside). They’ve got plenty of traditional favorites, like snickerdoodles, chocolate chip and butterscotch oatmeal, but if you’re not afraid to try something new, I recommend the magic bars (graham cracker crust with white chocolate, marshmallows, coconut and fruity pebble topping), Oreo bars, s’mores bars, or any one of a dozen another fanciful varieties.

“We’re trying to keep it fun,” Steve said. “We have a few traditional flavors but we’re always trying to do something new, innovative….We have a lot of flavors that people haven’t seen before but nothing that’s unapproachable and strange. We’re trying to make an experience where people can come in and have fun.”

But Kiss Me Cookie is more than just cookies. There are cookie cakes, cookie pizzas, coffees, cheesecakes, homemade hot chocolate mix, even dog treats. And they’re trying to work with local producers as much as possible to keep the operation small-business oriented.

Pam and Steve also offer catering services and individually-wrapped cookies (the extra wrapping fee, by the way, is waived during the pandemic). This fall they hope to introduce fudge, pies and holiday treats as well.

Kiss Me Cookie is located at 696 Ridge Rd., Webster, in the little plaza just west of Hatch Rd. They’re open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and are closed Monday and Tuesday.

Next Sunday Sept. 6 would be a great time to check them out, when they host a “Goodbye to Summer” party from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with summer–themed giveaways, 20% off everything in store, free drinks, freeze pops and more, and a chance to win a gift card. To find out more, check out the Facebook event here.

If you can handle some super-glam cookie photos, check out their Facebook page here, and for a full list of their cookie selection, visit their webpage here.

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White Christmas a no-go (for now)

23 Aug
Chances are very good we’ll not be seeing this scene on Main Street this year.

I’ve been getting a few questions recently regarding the status of upcoming Village of Webster events, especially White Christmas and the Parade of Lights.

Not knowing the answer myself, I dropped an email to Robyn Whitaker, my contact on the Webster BID (the business group that organizes these events) and confirmed what I suspected would be the case.

2020 has officially become (almost) a complete washout.

Robyn wrote,

We had a discussion with the fire department and there will be no White Christmas this year along with no Trick-or-treat Trail, no Wine Walk, no Bourbon Bash.

She did add, however, that if things change (meaning if we can really get Corona under control I suspect), “we are willing to modify (our plans) so we can connect the community.”

Not all Village events have bitten the dust, however. Last night, the gazebo at Veterans Memorial Park played host to the first of three Friday night summer concerts, featuring Prime Time Funk. The series continues this coming Friday Aug. 28 with Judah Sealy and concludes on Sept. 4 with the Bill Tiberio Band. The concerts run from 7 to 9 p.m., and socially-distanced family-sized spaces will be marked in the grass.

For more information, visit the BID website.

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Webster community mailbag

18 Aug

There is NO reason to not have a good book to read during these last few weeks of summer. Not when the Webster Public Library keeps making it SO EASY to borrow one, or in this case, get a bunch for really cheap.

The library’s next pop-up book sale is this Thursday Aug. 20 from noon to 4 outside the library, at the back of Webster Plaza, 980 Ridge Rd.

All books are just $1 each (cash only please). Check out the poster for more details.

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Immanuel Lutheran Church , 131 W, Main in Webster, will hold a food collection on Saturday, Aug. 22 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The collection will be in the parking lot behind the church, which can be accessed off of Daniel Drive. Volunteers will take the food from your car.

Immanuel has run the Weekend Food Backpack Program in the Webster Schools since 2011, with generous support from other Webster churches, community organizations and residents. At the close of school they were providing bags of food to more than 70 children in all seven of the elementary schools. When the school buildings closed, they shifted distribution to the Little Free Pantry in the Immanuel Parking lot.

Immanuel Hunger Ministry manages a Little Free Pantry in the church parking lot. The Little Pantry is available for anyone who is need of some food. The philosophy behind the Little Free Pantry is “Take what you need and leave what you can” This Little Pantry is seeing support from people in the community as well as our church members.

Please donate non-perishable items, no glass containers or out of date items.
Suggested items are kid friendly foods such as:
Peanut butter
Jam of Jelly
Macaroni and Cheese
Tuna Fish or Canned Chicken
Pasta and Sauce
Soup and Ramen Noodles
Cereal or Instant Oatmeal
Shelf Stable Milk and Juice Boxes
Canned Vegetables and Fruit
Individual Applesauce, Pudding or Fruit Cups
Granola Bars and Other Snack Items
Canned Pasta – Spaghetti-O’s, Ravioli & Similar

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A five-year effort to clean veterans’ headstones at Webster Union Cemetery, spearheaded by Webster resident Stephen Cataldi, will conclude this Sunday, Aug. 23, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Interested volunteers are asked to meet at the cemetery, 345 Webster Rd. Read more about the project on the Facebook page here.

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