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High schools’ fight songs update!

12 Jan


A couple of days ago I posted a blog about Jason Hammersla, a 1995 Webster graduate, who has written two songs which he hoped might be adopted as alma maters for Webster Schroeder and Thomas high schools.

At the end of that blog I asked readers to let me know of any such songs exist for either or both of the schools. On Friday morning, I got an email from Webster Thomas principal Glenn Widor, who informed me that Thomas does indeed have an alma mater, which is sung at every graduation.

I further heard from Thomas music teacher Brenda Nitsch that Kyle Sackett ’08, alumnus of the Thomas vocal music program, wrote the song while studying music education and performance at Fredonia.

Here it is:

Near the shores of Lake Ontario stands a school which we hold dear.
Webster Thomas, we’ll make a promise to always keep you near.
With every teacher, staff and student our moral compass will be aligned
And together we will fight with her colors blue and white!

Live forever Titan pride!

I still haven’t heard anything about a Schroeder alma mater,  however. If I do, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, here’s the link again to my previous blog where you can see what Jason wrote.

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‘Twas a few days before Christmas….

23 Dec

The village was hopping Saturday afternoon when I went into town for some last-minute Christmas shopping.

The village lights were sparkling, and the folk jam session musicians at Barry’s Old School Irish were in fine form, playing Christmas carols for the entire pub to sing along with. Business owners were enjoying some brisk sales from procrastinating people like me.  And Tom McCoy at Performance Hobbies was hosting his annual Christmas Party, which he’s been doing for more than 20 years. He was decked out in his finest (and most audacious) Christmas finery, and he had food tables set up all around the shop, filled with venison stew, venison chili, meatballs, cheese and crackers, and lots more, for customers or anyone else who wandered into the store to enjoy.

It was nice to just wander through the village, enjoy the sights and sounds of the season, and wind down a bit before the craziness of Christmas Day.

May the next few days be filled with peace and joy for you an yours.

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Santa visits the Elks!

21 Dec

Just a quick note today about a fun event hosted by the Webster/Fairport Elks Club on Jackson Road.

They’ve hosted a group called Crew 333 every Monday night for the past two years, created by Ben Barrow and Elks member Bob Avalon. They had their Christmas party earlier this week, complete with gifts, subs, cake and a visit from Santa. Here are a few photos from the evening:


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Holy Trinity pageant: So much cuteness in 15 minutes

16 Dec


Early this afternoon I had the chance to attend the Children’s Christmas Pageant at Holy Trinity Church. It was probably the most adorable 15 minutes that I will spend this entire holiday season.

About 30 children, mostly 3 to 7-year olds, participated in the production, as Mary and Joseph, angels, shepherds, Wise Men, animals and narrators. Holy Trinity Parish Faith  Formation Coordinator Tricia Kull said the children only had two rehearsals in the last two weeks. But despite having such little time to prepare, she added, she was very proud on how quickly they fell into their roles and remembered what to do and where to stand.

I agree. They nailed it.

The whole pageant from beginning to end was only about 15 minutes. But in that short time, the large audience (mostly parishioners and proud parents and grandparents) was treated to well-prepared narration, passionate acting, angelic singing, a surprise guest and one clearly exhausted angel.

I’ve included a few photos here, but if you’d like to see a gallery of many more, click here.


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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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