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Webster pulls together to make a child happy

8 Nov

If you’re on social media at all, you’ve probably seen the recent coverage of how the Webster community is pulling together to make a child’s dreams come true.

The child is Owen Knight, a sophomore at Webster Thomas High School, and his story begins when his loving aunt Amy posted this on Facebook:

facebook post

Since that post, Owen has been inundated with cards, but that was just the beginning. Channel 13 news picked up on the story and ran a piece on it a few days ago. THEN the Webster Police Department got wind of the story and decided to help Owen live out another one of his dreams, to be in a parade.

They called all their first-responder friends and even got a dump truck, and paraded Owen down Publisher’s Parkway, ending at Webster Thomas High, where he was greeted by his classmates and the marching band.

Click here to see Channel 13 coverage about that incredible event. And if you’d like to see a video of the entire parade, Webster Thomas staff member Linda Dow Hayes made a great video. I posted it on my Webster on the Web Facebook page.

What an amazing community we have here in Webster.

You can still send Owen a birthday card if you’d like. His address is Owen Knight, 1615 Ridge Road, Webster, NY 14580.

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Pickled Paintbrush set to open

8 Nov



At long last, Webster’s newest art-themed shop, the Pickled Paintbrush, is ready to be introduced to the community.

The Pickled Paintbrush, located at 36 East Main Street, will offer art classes, workshops and special events for children and adults. But the studio’s focus will be mostly on children. The primary goal is to have fun, doing unusual projects with unconventional materials.

It’s taken a lot longer than expected for owner Marissa Burke to complete all the renovations (as these things often do), but the results were well worth the wait. The beautiful, completely renovated 2,200-foot studio has two levels. Downstairs is the reception area — which will double as a drop-in, small project area — a smaller studio and a bathroom. Upstairs is a much larger, expansive studio space where Birke plans to larger events and workshops, birthday parties and adult events like date nights.  There’s also a second bathroom, a separate children’s playroom and a kitchenette.

You can check out the new Pickled Paintbrush for yourself on Saturday November 17, when Birke hosts an open house from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. It will feature give-aways, raffles, and of course some fun art projects for both kids and adults.

Click here to find out more details about that, and check out the current list of preschool classes (and a DATE NIGHT!). Registrations are now being accepted, in-store or by phone. For more information email or call (585) 704-8809.

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Webster community mailbag

6 Nov

So many special events coming up in the next week, especially for veterans and their families.

Free dinner for veterans

Are you a veteran or active duty service member? Do you know one?

veterans dayAll veterans and active duty service members and their families are invited to a free dinner in honor of Veterans Day, on Thursday November 8 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at Spry Middle School, 119 South Ave., Webster.

The event is sponsored by the Spry Middle School Student Council, Builders Club, and the Webster-Fairport B.P.O. Elks #2396.

Reservations are appreciated.  Please call Ms. Ritzmann at Spry Middle School at 216-0093.

How about breakfast, veterans? 

The Webster-Fairport Elks Lodge will host a free pancake breakfast for veterans and their families on Sunday Nov. 11 from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Veterans will eat for free, and donations are welcome.

Proceeds will benefit the Elks West District Vets Fund. The Webster-Fairport Elks Lodge is located at 1066 Jackson Road.

Learn more about D Day

Also in honor of Veterans Day, the Webster Museum will present a special program on Saturday Nov. 10 called “The Hidden Story of D Day.”

The program will be presented by Kodak retiree and history buff Jack Kowiak, whom some might remember from his presentation last year at the museum about the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo. This year Jack will present some interesting facts he’s uncovered about D Day, the largest amphibious invasion in history.

The program will begin at 2 p.m. and be about an hour long. Admission is free, the public is invited, and the museum ladies promise the “best cider and donuts in town.”

The Webster Museum is located at 18 Lapham Park. It’s open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 2 to 4:30 p.m. For more information log onto the museum’s website or visit them on Facebook.

Join the Lions for a super steak dinner

The Webster Lions Club will host its Annual Steak Roast on Saturday Nov. 10 at the Columbus Center, 70 Barrett Drive.

The cash bar will open at 3 p.m., and dinner will be served from 4 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 ($10 for children 5-12) which includes a thick, juicy steak, potato, fresh garden salad, bread and your choice of soda.

Tickets will be available at the door, or in advance from Kitchen & Bath Expressions, 1175 Ridge Rd., Webster. For more information call (585) 234-5480, email or log onto

All proceeds to go directly to the Willow Domestic Violence Center and to support Webster other Lions Club charities.

Buy a turkey, give a turkey! 

The Penfield Ecumenical Food Shelf is looking for your help this year with collecting frozen turkeys for their annual Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner distributions.

Sizes can range from 8-12 or more pounds. They ask for everyone to deliver their Thanksgiving turkeys to the Dolomite Lodge parking lot (Veterans Memorial Park on Atlantic Ave.) on Sat. Nov. 17 between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. For Christmas, they’ll collect the turkeys on Saturday, Dec. 22, from 7:30-8:30 a.m. in the same location.

If you would like to donate a frozen turkey, email to let them know.

Caps for Sale! 

Now here’s a clever little fundraiser, based on a popular children’s book, hosted by the Friends of the Webster Public Library.

IMG_E9392Bartholomew Cubbins had 500 hats, and the Friends will be selling more than 260 hand-crafted hats during their Caps for Sale event later this month.

Just in time for a long, cold winter, you’ll find caps, hats and head-warmers of all sorts, made from felt, crocheted, sewn, and woven, for infants through adults. Adult caps will cost $10, children’s for $5. Buy a hat for a gift, for yourself or to hang on the HOPE House’s mitten and hat tree in the lobby.

The sale is scheduled for Thursday November 15 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday November 17 from noon to 4 p.m. The Webster Public Library is located at 980 Ridge Road, at the back of the plaza. Proceeds will benefit the Friends of the Webster Public Library and their programs.

Barre, barre and more barre

ROC & Soul Fitness gives new meaning to the phrase “Barre So Hard” as they gather barre and yoga instructors from other local studios for an epic Barre-A-Thon event on Saturday, November 17.

Barre fitness is a workout that combines the best elements of barre, yoga, Pilates, and functional weight training. Absolutely no choreography, tutus, or leotards can be found in barre class, because barre is NOT a dance class.

roc & soulOwner of ROC & Soul Fitness, Malena Guadagnino and the owner of M/Body, Molly Flaherty, teamed up to create an all morning Barre Class event. They’ve brought together some of the best yoga and barre instructors in the industry, including instructors from: Balance Yoga, Hikyoga, Compass Cycle Studio, M/Body, and ROC & Soul Fitness. Four barre classes will be offered on the hour beginning at 8 a.m. at ROC & Soul Fitness. Participants will have a chance to win prizes from a raffle.

Proceeds from the Barre-A-Thon will benefit GiGi’s Playhouse in Rochester, a learning center that empowers children and young adults with Down syndrome.

To find out more, visit the ROC & Soul Fitness website here or connect with them on Facebook.

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Spaghetti dinner to benefit local child

2 Nov

Liam GogginsH

Here’s just a quick note about another community event coming up this Saturday which I just learned about.

The Goggins family of Ontario will host a spaghetti dinner on Saturday Nov. 3 at the Webster/Fairport Elks Lodge to help defray medical-related costs for their son Liam.

On July 28, 2018, Liam Goggins was celebrating his first birthday when he suddenly stopped breathing. His mother administered CPR, and he was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital, where he stopped breathing again.

Tests showed that Liam’s heart had not developed properly. He was diagnosed with narrowing of the heart’s mitral valve, which was blocking blood flow into the left ventricle. Just days later, he underwent open heart surgery to replace his mitral valve with a mechanical valve. That valve has to be replaced one or two more times as he grows.

This weekend’s spaghetti dinner will help Liam’s parents, Zach and Lindsay, offset the costs of existing and future medical bills. It’s being hosted by the Webster/ Fairport Elks Lodge, 1066 Jackson Road, Webster on Saturday November 3 from 4 to 8 p.m. The dinner will include pasta with sauce and meatballs, salad and bread. A cash bar will also be available.

Cost is $15 for adults, $5 for children under 12. For tickets contact Barb Tegas at or Cindy Van Buren,

The Webster/Fairport Elks Lodge Elks Lodge #2396, located at 1066 Jackson Rd. in Webster, meets the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. throughout the autumn and winter months. They also serve a fish fry dinner every Friday from 6 to 8:00 p.m. For more information call 585-872-1847 or email

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Bygone Blog — A silly song for autumn

30 Oct

11122011 leavesThis is the seventh in my series of Bygone Blogs, in which I am re-posting some of my favorite blogs from the last eight years. This one was originally published on November 2, 2011.

Carol of the Leaves

(sung to the tune of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”)
(Really. It’s much more fun if you sing along with it.)

It’s the most back-breaking time of the year,
When winter is calling,
the leaves are a’falling
And bagging-the-leaves time is here,
11122011leafIt’s the most back-breaking time of the year.

Yes, the most colorful season is here.
From the leaves on the trees
To the frustrated screams
That fall on your ears,
Yes, the most colorful season is here.

I think shoveling is better
Though snow’s cold and wetter,
I just push it and that’s not so bad.
Then the plows come on by
And they sweep it aside.
And I don’t have to stuff it in bags.

It’s the most back-breaking time of the year.
Some day thanks to our pleas,
Penfield WILL pick up leaves.
They’ll finally get it in gear.
It’s the most back-breaking time,
Yes, the most back-breaking time,
It’s the most back-breaking time of the year.

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Photos from a cold, wet Trick or Treat Trail

27 Oct


tot trail 2

So the weather turned out to be exactly as awful as was forecast during Webster’s annual Halloween in the Village celebration on Saturday. It was cold. It was windy. It was raining pretty much the entire time, sometimes pretty hard.

So turnout for the Trick or Treat Trail wasn’t anywhere near what it was last year when we enjoyed 60-plus degree temperatures. But hundreds did brave the elements, popping in and out of about 50 village businesses for treats, and visiting the fire house and Webster Museum for special events. And kudos for all those business owners who also braved the rain and cold, setting up tents, or just sitting in the vestibules outside their shops.

tot trail 1Of course I took lots of photos. Since turnout was a little lower, chances are goo I got one of you and your family. Click here to see the entire gallery.

And thank you Webster BID, for another great event. Next year, let’s hope for snow. It might actually be less miserable.

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Updates on Trick or Treat Trail, Hot Cocoa Hike

26 Oct

blue-hot-chocolate-cup-mdSo it looks like Mother Nature is brewing up some wet weather for Saturday. Hopefully it will hold off enough so that families can enjoy the Village of Webster’s Trick or Treat Trail.

The forecast has, however, caused the Friends of Webster Trails to reschedule the Hot Cocoa Hike, originally planned for Saturday night.

FWT President Shari Gnolek explained in the email I got this morning:

The weather forecast showed up to 3/4 of an inch of rain, 15 – 20mph winds, and a high of 42 degrees. Even if you were somehow excited about hiking in those conditions, the mud created by all of the hikers would generate a lot of damage to the trails after an already rainy fall season.

  • If you ARE signed up and CAN make it on November 10th – There is NOTHING you need to do.
  • If you ARE signed up and CAN’T make this new date – Please follow the link and CHANGE your RSVP to ‘No’.
  • If you AREN’T signed up, but you want to come on the new date – Please use the link to RSVP.

Click here to sign up.

It’s the first time in eight years that the Friends have had to reschedule the hike.

pumpkin border

The Trick or Treat Trail, on the other hand, is still happening!  And I have some more details about that.

Since I first blogged about this year’s event, I’ve found out there’s going to be a pet parade and costume contest in addition to the kids’ costume contest. You can click on the poster below to see the details, but here they are anyway:


The kids’ costume contest begins at 11 a.m. at the Community Meeting Room, 29 South Ave. To participate, remember to arrive between 11 and 11:30. Prizes will be awarded at 11:30.

The Trick-or-Treat Trail runs from noon to 3 p.m. Look for the pumpkins in the windows of the participating businesses.

The Howl-o-ween Pet Costume Contest and Parade is at 12:30 p.m. Participants should gather near Village Hall on West Main, and everyone will parade to the gazebo at Veterans Memorial Park for judging.

And this news also recently in: My daughter Erin — who writes the bi-weekly Village Beat column for the Webster Herald — and I will be among the judges this year for the pet costume contest! So come on out and meet us!

The BID Festival Wagon will be giving free wagon rides through the village, and make sure to stop by the fire department (on South Ave.) and the museum (on Lapham Park) for their open house activities.

The latest weather report doesn’t look promising — so bring an umbrella and let’s have some fun anyway!

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Senior runner tells his inspiring story

20 Oct

Here’s a nice story from a meeting of Mended Hearts of Greater Rochester held recently at the Knights of Columbus in Webster.

Gates heart patient and senior runner Bruce Rychwalski, 69, was guest speaker at the meeting last Monday night.

Rychwalski is a fitness advocate and member of the Greater Rochester Track Club who has participated in more than 300 5K races since 2011, when he experienced a life-threatening Ventricular Tachycardia. At that time he was also diagnosed with Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy, a genetic, heritable, progressive heart condition in which the muscle of the right ventricle is replaced by fat and fibrosis, which causes abnormal heart rhythms.

After telling his story, Rychwalski impressed upon members of his audience the importance of keeping active and continuing to exercise after a medical diagnosis or procedure. His motto, he said, is “If you rest, you rust.”

Mended Hearts is a national and community-based non-profit organization that offers the gift of hope to heart disease patients, their families and caregivers through a variety of programs. Their mission is dedicated to “Inspiring hope and improving the quality of life for heart patients and their families through ongoing peer-to-peer support.” The local community chapters help people understand that there can be a rich, rewarding life after heart disease diagnosis. Members listen, share their experiences and volunteer to talk to other heart patients about what they may face including lifestyle changes, depression, recovery, and treatment.

For more information about Mended Hearts go to

Mended Hearts Photo #1

Bruce Rychwalski with Mended Hearts president Bernard Quinlan, VP Eugene Binder and program chair Marlene Adams

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Instilling a life-long love of sports

19 Oct


I love this photo. So many smiling — and silly — faces. They’re just a few of the kids who participate in the Webster Basketball Association (WBA) an instructional house league for boys and girls from first through ninth grades.

The folks who run the WBA have asked me to highlight the organization because time is running out to get your kids registered in this awesome program.

It begins on the morning of Sunday November 4 with an evaluation day to gauge skill levels. Kids will then be placed on a team and will work on drills for the first couple weeks. Game play will start in December and players will practice 30 minutes and play a game for 30 minutes. Players in first and second grades will be using lower rims.

Here’s more detail about the times and cost:

  • Sundays, November 4 – February 24 (no program on 11/25, 12/23, 12/30, 1/20 & 1/27)
  • 1st-2nd grade boys 1:30-2:30 p.m.
    1st-2nd grade girls 2:45-3:45 p.m.
    3rd-4th grade girls 2:45-3:45 p.m.
    3rd-4th grade boys 4-5 p.m.
    5th-8th grade girls 5-6 p.m.
    5th-6th grade boys 5-6 p.m.
    7th-9th grade boys 4-5 p.m.
  • Times are subject to change depending on how many children sign up for each age group and gym space availability. Exact times may not be determined until early November
  • Games and practices are held at the Field House at Webster Thomas High School, 800 Publishers Parkway
  • Fees:  1st through 4th grades: $90 for Webster $95 for non-residents; 5th through 9th grades: $105 for residents, $110 for non-residents.

For more information, email Julie Schillaci at Then get your kids out on that court, where they can learn the sport of basketball and enjoy it for years to come.


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Webster community mailbag

10 Oct

Gigi’s Fundraiser a Success

The recent Gigi’s spaghetti dinner fundraiser sponsored by the Webster/Fairport Elks Lodge on Sept. 29 was a great success.

The Lodge raised about $700 for Gigi’s Playhouse, a learning center for students with Down Syndrome.

Members of the lodge were assisted by students and their families, who served dinner, waited on tables and helped clean up. A special thanks to Bob Avalon who has a passion for Gigi’s and arranged this fundraiser

Here are a few photos from the evening:

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.Webster Fall Fest

The Town of Webster and Webster Parks and Recreation will kick off fall with the annual Webster Fall Festival, on Saturday October 13 from noon to 4 p.m. at Gosnell Big Woods, 680 Vosburg Road.

This is an awesome family-friendly event with donuts, cider, wagon rides, children’s crafts and games, pony rides, food trucks and live entertainment. Admission is free and there’s plenty of parking.

All proceeds from the event will benefit Challenger Miracle Field of Greater Rochester.

UCC Oktoberfest

Don’t forget about the Oktoberfest at the United Church of Christ on Klem Road, also Saturday October 13, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Tickets are $5.00 per person, and German specialties like Schnitzel, Sauerkraut, Potato Salad, Bratwurst, and desserts like Apple Strudel and Black Forest Cake will be available for purchase. For tickets, call the church office at 585-671-3757.

How About a Song? 

Join Webster’s very own Rochester Rhapsody women’s chorus on Monday October 15 for their Fall in Love with A Cappella Concert.

Rochester Rhapsody, the Rochester chapter of Harmony, Incorporated, is an international organization of female a cappella singers specializing in the barbershop harmony style.

The chorus will be joined by the group’s chorus quartets and guest singers. It will be held Monday October 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Harmony House, 58 East Main Street in the Village of Webster. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and a freewill donation would be appreciated. Refreshments will immediately follow the concert.


For more information about the concert and the chorus itself, click here, or email or call 585-865-2731.

Pancakes For a Cause

The First Baptist Church of Penfield will hold their next Flapjack Community Breakfast on Saturday October 20 from 8 to 10 a.m.

Guests will enjoy pancakes, pure maple syrup, scrambled eggs, sausage, and more for just $5.00 per person. All are welcome, and the venue is handicapped accessible.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so all of this month’s proceeds will go directly to benefit Resolve of Greater Rochester, a group dedicated to intervening and preventing domestic and sexual violence against women.

The First Baptist Church of Penfield is located at 1862 Penfield Rd. For more information, call 585-586-2876.

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