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Webster community mailbag

14 Apr

It’s spring musical season at the high schools!

Webster Schroeder High School has announced that their production of The Addams Family will be staged on Friday April 23 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday April 24 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.

They’re hoping to accommodate small audiences at these performances, but most patrons will be able to see the production live through a professional streaming service. Tickets for that will be available beginning this Friday April 16 at Tickets are $10 each.

Some of the accommodations Schroeder Drama has made for their musical this year include a smaller cast, having no permanent on-stage set, which allows for social distancing, and having the orchestra perform from the band room. The actors and musicians have had to deal with a lot of challenges to bring The Addams Family to the stage, so consider grabbing a ticket to show your support!

Stay tuned for more details about Webster Thomas’ spring play, Cabaret, scheduled for June 17 to 19 at the Penfield Amphitheatre. (Now THAT’S a creative way to beat Covid.) All shows will begin at 7:30 and tickets will be $12. Tickets will go on sale the beginning of May.

St. Martin Lutheran Church’s Spring Chicken BBQ will be held Saturday May 1 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the church, 813 Bay Rd.

The event will feature dinners of ½ chicken, salt potatoes, coleslaw, roll, and butter for $10.00.

The event this year will be drive-through only, first come, first serve, with no advance sales. Cars will enter the parking lot, follow signs, and purchase dinners using exact payment. Cars will then proceed to the front entrance to pick up boxed dinners. Dinners will be assembled according to CDC recommendations. Due to current health restrictions, pie slices and other desserts will not be available.

Proceeds will support St. Martin’s Christmas Stocking Project, which reaches more than 500 local youth in Monroe and Wayne counties.

Congratulations to Dr. Peter Pellitieri of Webster Dental Arts, who was recently named the Webster Chamber of Commerce 2021 Businessperson of the Year.

Pellitieri is a very active member of the Webster Community, a father, husband, business owner, volunteer, and philanthropist. He’s the founder and practitioner at Webster Dental Arts, located in the North Forest office park on Crosspointe Lane. He is an active member of St. Paul’s Church, serving as a lector and Eucharistic Minister. He is a member and past Grand Knight in the Knights of Columbus as well a past Faithful Navigator. He is also very involved in the Kiwanis Club of Webster, serving locally as a committee member and advisor for youth and adult leadership programs including K-Kids and the Aktion Club for adults with developmental disabilities; co-chairing the Kiwanis Christmas Party, serving approximately 100 local children and adults with developmental disabilities and Co-Chair of the Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt.

The presentation was made at the Chamber’s monthly breakfast meeting and was presented by Barry Howard, President/CEO of the Webster Chamber of Commerce and Diane McClure, Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

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Penfield’s Good Neighbor Day returns in May

7 Apr
Sharon Hodge, Yazmin Fernaays and Molly Rothfuss spread mulch during Penfield’s Good Neighbor Day a few years ago

As many of you know, when I started writing this blog (and until a few years ago, actually), I was a Penfield resident. So this annual event from our friends to the south has always been on my radar.

It’s the 7th annual Terry Rothfuss Memorial Good Neighbor Day, scheduled this year for Saturday May 8. The event gathers volunteers to help Penfield seniors, veterans and those who are disabled do light yard work and spring cleaning.

Projects require no more than a 3-hour commitment, and volunteers of all ages are encouraged to sign up, so it’s a great family activity.

Volunteers meet at the Rothfuss Farm the morning of the event for refreshments and to receive assignments, and then spread out around the town to complete their projects.

The event honors the memory of Terry Rothfuss, who was a farmer in east Penfield and a friend to all. He was always ready and willing to help anyone at any time. When he passed away in 2014 there was a huge hole left in the community. His friends and family wanted to carry on Terry’s legacy of friendship by continuing to help their community and inspire others to do the same.

To sign up to help or receive help, please call Sabrina at 340-8651, or email

Even if you’re unable to help out, the Town of Penfield and Browncroft Community Church has another way that morning to celebrate being good neighbors.

The whole community is invited to Rothfuss Park that Saturday, May 8 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for fun, food, and a time to catch up with neighbors. The event will include food trucks, a food drive for Penfield Ecumenical Food Shelf, and fun activities including inflatables and a speed pitch. The event is free and open to the public.

Although both events are outdoors, masks, proper hand hygiene, and physical distancing are required for all to stay safe.

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I know you’re out there, Ireland….

29 Mar

Thanks to the wonders of WordPress blog metrics, I can see a lot of information about my readers. The stats tell me some very general data about the most popular reading hours, how many people click on each post every day, even what site is referring them to the blog (Facebook or Google News, for example).

But it also tells me in broad terms what countries my readers are clicking in from. And this particular stat has got me to wondering of late.

Several times a week I get a click or two from Ireland, and that’s been puzzling me. Normally every day I’ll get one or two visitors from China or Thailand or Russia. I suspect these are spam. But the ones from Ireland? I think they’re legit. I’ve been there and met some people — even broke my arm in a karate dojo there — and am wondering if someone is checking up on my hometown based on those visits.

I know that Webster ex-pats regularly check in from Florida and California. But Ireland?

I know you’re out there. If you’re reading this, my friend in Ireland, let me know! And if you’re reading from elsewhere in the country or world, please let me know where you are and why you’re keeping tabs on Webster.

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The Easter scavenger hunt is still on!

26 Mar
This hunter brought his own basket

Just a quick reminder today that you and your kids can still take part in the Easter-themed scavenger hunt being hosted by the homeowners on Curtice Park in the village.

The socially-distanced Easter-themed hunt was designed by Curtice Park resident Jennifer Cave. She heard about it from an email she received, and thought it would be a great way to give kids something fun to do, and help them get a little exercise.

Here’s how the hunt works: with scavenger hunt card in hand, participants walk up and down Curtice Park and look for different Easter pictures displayed in the houses’ front windows. Most of the homeowners are participating, so it should be easy to find a lot of pictures.

Last Saturday and Sunday, the first few days of the scavenger hunt, several neighbors even put some Easter treats at the end of their driveways for the kids. Jennifer was able to snap a few photos, and reported that she saw more than 40 kids walk by on the hunt.

Entire families came out for the hunt last weekend.

Just print off the scavenger hunt paper you see below and you’re good to go. The pictures will be up through Easter. This is a great activity for the kids on spring break!

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Free Food Stands are popping up in Webster and around the city

22 Mar

Just like Little Free Libraries, and most recently the Little “Puzzle” Library I wrote about a few weeks ago, Free Food Stands are popping up all over Webster and throughout the city, providing food and personal hygiene items to families in need. And one Webster family is doing its best to see that at least some of them never go empty.

Jamie Buss and her husband Mike first heard about the stands back in January and decided they wanted to help out.

“We went and filled one one day,” she said, “and saw the incredible need there was. We started promoting it on Facebook…. It was incredibly well received by our friends alone.” Donations started coming in, which allowed Jamie and Mike to start filling more and more pantries.

Right now there are 27 Free Food Stands scattered throughout Rochester, in the city as well as suburban towns including Greece, Penfield, Perinton and Phillips Village in Webster. Jamie and Mike fill six to eight of them every week, with donated items and ones they’ve purchased outright.

After a stop at the Public Market to purchase fresh produce, “We make a weekend of it,” Jamie said. “Every stand we fill on Sundays is empty when we get there.”

Jamie and Mike’s efforts received a huge boost recently when the food pantry project was taken under the wing of The Goodness Initiative, a Rochester-based grassroots organization which Jamie co-founded several years ago with Colleen Bedford. Now that the Goodness Initiative is involved, Jamie said, they hope to be able to expand the program even farther.

But they’ll need more volunteers and more donations to do that. This is where you come in.

Donations of food, toiletry and cleaning items are needed to keep the food stands stocked. Fortunately, there are a couple of easy, no-contact ways you can help out. For starters, check out The Goodness Initiative Facebook page for a wish list of needed items, and a list of where all the free food stands currently are located.

Now, here’s how you can help:

  • Purchase any items on the wish list and bring them to 839 Bridle Lane, Webster. There are bins on the front porch for contactless drop-offs 24/7.
  • Purchase items from their Amazon Wish List and have them delivered directly to them.
  • Make a monetary donation and they’ll purchase the items they need most. Click here for a paypal link.
  • Schedule your own donation drive! You can either drop the collected items off, or fill any of the listed stands on your own.

Rest assured, your donations will go where they are most needed. That might not be Webster (the Phillips Village pantry is often full), but as Jamie explains, that really shouldn’t matter.

“It’s a community effort of helping out your neighbors,” Jamie said. “When you see a need you fill that need. It doesn’t matter what stand you fill. As long as people are doing the work there are others that are not going hungry.”

“We are happy to drive all over to do the work, because all people are worthy of basic necessities, no matter their zip code.”

The Free Food Stand in Phillips Village is not the only Little Free Pantry in town. Four others, hosted by church congregations, are located at the Webster Baptist Church on South Ave, Immanuel Lutheran Church on West Main St., the United Church of Christ on Klem Rd., and St. Martin’s Church on Bay Rd. Like the Free Food Stands, these pantries encourage a “take what you need, leave what you can” philosophy.

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The shows must go on!

16 Mar
A scene from the Webster Thomas Radio Play in January

A few weeks ago, I posted a blog about the creative ways our middle and high schools have come up with to stage their spring plays this year. Here is an update straight from the district:

COVID restrictions have created inherent problems for Webster CSD’s theater groups as they seek to share their love of theater with the community. But, as they say… The show must go on!

The first to tackle the challenge this school year was the Webster Thomas Drama Club. How did they overcome it? They created an original production that allowed performers to social distance. The Webster Thomas Radio Hour revives the feel of old-time radio shows of the 1940s; however, instead of listening in on a radio the Titans are inviting everyone to tune in on their electronic devices. Go online to News at to see “The Case of the Missing Mallets,” “The Adventures of the Time-traveling Athenians,” “The Return of Professor Z to the Planet of the Beyond,” “Murder on the Rochester Express,” and “Francis Fisher — Ghost Hunter.” The roughly two-hour production also includes student scripted sketches and commercials.

Spry Middle School Drama Club will also share their One Act Play Festival online after performing it live March 18-20 for studio audiences comprised mostly of family. The performance includes “Pajama Party,” “Four Little Words,” “Goldilocks on Trial,” and”Not so Grimm Tales.” Plus, soloists and small group ensembles will entertain the audience during intermission.

Once streaming of the One Act Play Festival becomes available, the district will announce it on its website and through its social media: Facebook (@WebsterCentralSchools) and Twitter (@WCSDProud). The same is true for Webster Schroeder Musicals’ upcoming production of the Addams Family.

Coming to Webster Schroeder High School April 23 and 24 for small audiences and live stream, The Addams Family is a creepy, kooky comedy musical about a ghoulish family that loves all things macabre. Daughter, Wednesday, has fallen in love with a “normal” boy that her parents have never met and who she secretly plans to wed. When the two families gather at for a get-to-know-one another dinner at the Addams’ home hilarity ensues.

As this time, Willink Drama Club is in the planning stages for a musical revue utilizing songs and dances from some of their past productions. Again, students will perform it for intimate audiences (mostly family), May 14 and 15, and then share it virtually.

I was pleased to be a part of the audience when Webster Thomas presented their production back in January. You can read that blog here.

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Where were you during the ice storm of ’91?

4 Mar

Today, believe it or not, marks the 30th anniversary of the 1991 ice storm.

Looking south down Bedford Street

It began with rain on the afternoon of March 3. Overnight, the rain turned to ice, and many of us woke up to the gunshot sounds of limbs breaking and falling into the yards and streets. More than 200,000 homes lost power, many for as long as two weeks.

I was living in the city at the time, on Bedford Street just off of Bay. I have vivid memories of that day. Mostly I remember what a beautiful scene Mother Nature had painted, bathing everything in sparkling ice. And I remember how much devastation it brought to our street. Broken branches and fallen trees made the road impassible.

I also recall how everyone on the street came out to help clean up the mess. Several chainsaws showed up seemingly out of nowhere, and neighbors from up and down the street who rarely spoke to one another worked together to drag detritus into yards. As often happens during tragedy, community members came together without even being asked, to help one another out.

We never lost power, or even cable, that day, so we were one of the lucky ones. The following year, however, the city came by and removed a significant number of trees that had been severely damaged by the storm. Our beautiful tree-lined street looked almost bare.

I realized that day that the storm was a unique event, so I took several photos, which you see here. I wish I’d taken many more.

How about you? Were you living in Webster then? What was it like here during the ice storm of ’91? If you have any memories or photos from that day that you’d like to share, please send them along, or post a comment here or on my Facebook page.

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Finding a silver lining in Covid-19

28 Feb

This last year has been awful. There’s no two ways about it. Covid-19 has brought sickness, death, separation and financial ruin to millions.

Our world has been put through the wringer. But while it’s really hard to see past all the terrible things that have happened and are still happening, if you look closely enough, it’s possible to see some positives that have come out of this experience.

I was chatting about this the other day with the nurse at school. In a normal year, children would often come to her office complaining of stomach bugs or with random (non-Covid) fevers. But thanks to the fact that everyone is wearing masks, she’s seeing those routine viruses a whole lot less. Kids are just not getting sick as much.

And that goes for us adults, too. I’ve usually contracted two or three colds by this point in the school year, but I haven’t gotten sick once. It’s not unusual for a stomach bug to run through the family as well, but not this year. Masks have reduced transmission, and since I’m not seeing family members as much, so they can’t infect me.

I realized there must be other ways in which our lives have changed for the better as a result of Covid. Here’s what I came up with, and maybe you can add some more:

  • Zoom. Like most people, I was totally unfamiliar with this program until the pandemic. But it quickly became an outstanding tool to stay connected with friends (like my regular Friday night virtual euchre game), family (playing Jackbox with family from as far away as Texas), and old school buddies (my husband’s old college friends’ happy hours). Over Christmas I also connected via Zoom with family members I hadn’t seen in years. None of this would have happened if we didn’t have a virtual way to gather.
  • Homeless animals are much happier. Many animal shelters were cleaned out by families who wanted to adopt a pet during shutdown.
  • We’ve rediscovered the outdoors. Shutdown meant that we had to find other ways to entertain ourselves aside from going bowling or to the movies or pubs. So we started walking and hiking and riding our bikes.
  • We’ve reconnected with our neighbors. Now everyone says hi when they pass by on their after-dinner walks. This was especially true in the early months of the pandemic. Everyone was just overjoyed to see other faces, even if you did have to move out into the street to pass by.
  • We’ve rediscovered hobbies. I have been reading more books and doing more jigsaw puzzles.
  • I learned the word “smize.” It means a playful expression with your eyes, or smiling with your eyes. We all do it, but now we’ve learned to recognize it, and know what to call it.
  • Pollution is down a lot. I read that the canals in Venice are clear, the reduction of pollution in China has saved thousands of lives, carbon monoxide emissions are down significantly, and the air is so clear near the Himalayas that the mountains are visible for the first time in decades.
  • We’ve developed a newfound respect for our essential workers, something which has been sorely lacking.

But I think the best thing that has happened in this last year is that we’ve all increased our generosity and connection to community. We’re supporting local businesses and restaurants. We’re donating to food cupboards and reaching out to community members who are struggling financially. We’re dropping off care packages, offering to shop for our older neighbors, checking on the health and welfare of family members. We’re looking after one another.

Basically, we’ve rediscovered our sense of community. When this pandemic finally leaves us all for good, let’s hope that sense of community does not. We must never forget this time when we really needed one another.

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Webster Rec will host family fun snow day

16 Feb

We kind of lucked out the first few months of winter, but we all knew it was only a matter of time before we got any measureable snow. Now that we do, we might as well take advantage of it. Here’s a good place to start:

The Webster Parks and Recreation Department will host a Family Winter Fun Day on Saturday Feb. 20, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Rec Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive.

All sorts of family-friendly fun-in-the-snow events are planned, including

  • ice skating at the rec’s outdoor rink (bring your own skates)
  • an outdoor ice fishing game,
  • a polar bear station where kids can learn about polar bears, make a craft and read a polar bear book
  • hiking along the paved Chiyoda Trail (bring a flashlight or headlamp)
  • cross country skiing with the Rochester Cross Country Ski Foundation

If you don’t particularly like the cold, you can warm yourself by some fire pits, enjoy free hot chocolate and popcorn, or head inside to the gym to try out the Gaga Pit.

More details will be coming soon, especially about the cross country skiing. You can check them out on the Webster Recreation Center webpage or their Facebook page.

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Keep those Webster Bucket List ideas coming

15 Feb

Thank you to everyone who’s already sent along some additions for my Webster Bucket List.

I wrote about my list last week (you can see that blog here). It’s a comprehensive list, but so old it’s out of date. For example, a few of the places on it don’t exist anymore, and a few of the events no longer happen.

So I’m looking for additions. Once I have a final, updated list, I’ll re-post the entire thing so that everyone can print it off and see how many places or events you’ve already checked off, or would like to.

So check out the list, then let me know what I need to add! Email me or send me a message via Facebook.

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email me  at“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

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