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A pleasant reminder of what normal looked like

11 Jul

One of the main reasons I wanted to move into the Village of Webster was the convenience of being able to walk into town for parades and festivals, and to the gazebo for concerts and other musical events.

This summer has been a bust, of course, with just about every special event you can think of being cancelled. We haven’t been able to enjoy our regular Friday nights at the gazebo at all.

Until last night.

Last night the Village of Webster welcomed comic Rudolph Valentino to the gazebo in Veterans Memorial Park, where he — and his funny friends Yolanda Smilez and Kevin Markman — offered up almost a full hour of clean stand-up comedy to an appreciative audience.

no laffing matterThe event was organized as a release show for Valentino’s new comedy album, “Ain’t No Laffing Matter.” 

The crowd wasn’t as big as I expected it to be, numbering perhaps 50 to 75 people. I expected a lot more people, like me, would jump at the opportunity to enjoy some free outside entertainment again, something we haven’t been able to do in a long time. I was disappointed for the entertainers and their staff who had clearly taken some time to also put together raffles and some concessions.

Rudolph himself, however, was not disappointed. “The crowd was great,” he wrote on the Webster Neighbors Facebook page. “Especially since we put this together in 10 days.”

That was the kind of positive attitude we saw last night from the comics and audience members alike — who all did a great job, by the way, maintaining social distancing.

It was great to pull out the quad chairs again and enjoy a summer evening at the gazebo. I look forward to more events like this to help keep us all sane this summer.

If you’d like to check out Valentino’s new album, “Ain’t No Laffing Matter,” click here.

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Webster Community Blood Drive a huge success!

5 Jun
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Local first responders gather in the Webster Recreation Center parking lot at the end of the community blood drive.  

Wow.

Just wow. That about sums up my feelings after seeing the final tallies from this week’s Webster Community Blood Drive.

This biannual drive is always a very popular one because of the raffle prizes, but even without the promise of those prizes, our Webster community came out in record numbers. Word from the Red Cross folks is that the two-day drive attracted 191 donors, who (counting double reds) donated 197 units. Both days’ goals of 85 units were blown away in what is the best Community Blood Drive in recent memory.

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Many donors also took the opportunity to write encouraging notes on posters for the first responders. 

But not only that! When the Webster community heard that this year’s drive was being held to support local businesses and first responders, they answered the call, dropping eight gift cards and more than $450 in cash into the box on the welcome table. One kind donor also included several nice notes and “Miraculous Medals.” All of the donations will be distributed to members of the North East Quadrant Advanced Life Support, the Webster Volunteer Fire Dept., and the West Webster Volunteer Fire Dept.

So THANK YOU to the Webster (and surrounding) community members who came out in support of this week’s drive by donating blood and/or cash and gift certificates. You all helped save hundreds of lives through your donations, and showed some much-need support those first responders in our community who also save lives.

A personal thank you to Monroe County Legislator Matthew Terp and Webster Deputy Supervisor Patti Cataldi for their work organizing the drive, and to Matt for manning the welcome tent in front of the Rec Center for the entire drive (except when he went inside to donate).

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Matt Terp (right) and Shirley Humphrey welcome donors at the Rec Center.

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Birthday parade honors former St. Rita principal

13 May

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Birthday parades seem to be popping up every week these days, but this one was an extra special one.

On Monday evening, a parade of cars of cars honoring Sister Katherine Ann Rappl streamed through the St. Rita parking lot, offering gratitude and 80th birthday wishes to the school’s former principal.

It was a complete surprise for Sister Rappl, who clearly enjoyed the parade, which numbered about 140 cars. Thank you so much to Julie Schillaci for passing along the included here.

Julie also sent this write-up about the school’s beloved former principal:

No matter how many years pass, alumni of St. Rita School in Webster will always be “God drops” to Sister of Mercy Katherine Ann Rappl.

Exceptional students at the school are recognized with this honorary designation and receive raindrop-shaped sun catchers to hang in their windows to remind them 84CD1B72-D0E9-48EF-96F8-E6E6EF5CF9F9of how they capture God’s love.

The phrase “God drops” was one that Sister Rappl picked up during a National Catholic Educational Association Conference workshop years ago

“A raindrop is fully made up of what a cloud is made up of,” she always said, noting that people are God drops because they are made up of the same substance as God. God’s life is inextricably intertwined with their lives, she said.

And for the past 30 years, the lives of the students at St. Rita School have been intertwined with Sister Rappl, who began working there as principal in 1983.

She taught at St. Andrew and St. John the Evangelist, Rochester; St. Salome, Irondequoit; St. Louis, Pittsford; and St. Patrick Junior High School and Notre Dame High School, Elmira.

Formerly known as Sister Mary Benedicta, her home parish was St. Thomas the Apostle in Irondequoit, and she attended the parish school. She said the Sisters of Mercy who taught her at Our Lady of Mercy High School in Brighton were very influential in her discerning her vocation, and she became a Sister of Mercy in 1958.

Sister Rappl loves being in Catholic education because she has been able to teach children both academics and their faith, and she has gotten the chance to see students grow.

“That’s a big joy in seeing how they learn to take responsibility and control of their behavior from kindergarten to sixth grade,”

And, she always points out, J.O.Y. — an acronym that stands for Jesus, others and yourself — is the school’s theme.

“I always tell students don’t let anyone take your joy away from you,” Sister Rappl received the “Lighting the Fire Award” from the Catholic School Administrators Association of New York State for her 50 years of service in Catholic education.

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You may have heard some commotion last night in the village around 7 p.m. That was yet another birthday parade, this one for Fritz Sierk, owner of The Coach Sports Bar on West Main.

This one featured not only a fire engine and other emergency vehicles, but also the WFD’s antique engine, and that huge Teamsters semi, blasting music.

Hard to tell if Fritz saw it all; he seemed to have something in his eye for part of it.

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Peep Show postponed and other news

16 Mar

Yellow Marshmallow Chicks in RowsNo surprise here.

I received word late yesterday that the annual Greater Rochester Peep Show has been postponed to May 9 and 10.

This event draws so many more than 50 people, and as we all know, large gatherings are pretty much verboten in our current climate. So it was just a matter of time before the decision to postpone was made.

I’m glad they haven’t just canceled it, because this is one of my favorite events of the year (I know, I say that a lot, but Webster just has SO MANY COOL EVENTS). It would be great if life’s back to almost normal by early May, but I’d lay odds it might have to be moved again.

So stay tuned and also I’ll let you know if I hear anything about Community Arts Day, scheduled for April 18. So far, that is still on. But……

Webster Library closed

The Webster Public Library is officially closed, but they will be offering their drive-up service, virtual storytimes and more. I just got this email from them:

As the Coronavirus situation expands, we here at the Webster Public Library have been discussing how we could do the most good for our community at this uncertain time. How we could make a difference now, when it’s needed. We have decided the best way to make a positive impact in our society is to do our part in preventing the increased spread of the COVID-19 virus. We have decided to close our doors, for now. We would not do this if we did not think it was a truly necessary precaution. We will be closed temporarily starting Sunday, March 15.

Because we are closed does not mean we are gone. We are hard at work thinking of what services we need to provide now and creating them for our community in this time of need.

We are continuing to offer our Drive-Up, Pick-Up service between the hours of 11am and 4pm, Monday through Saturday. Give us a call and tell us what items you want, pull up out front in your car, and we will bring the items out to you. Books, movies, TV shows, magazines, audiobooks, storytime at home kits, video games, comics, and more are available to check out via this manner. Call us! (585) 872-7075. Or email at webster.reference@libraryweb.org.

We are eliminating all overdue fees during the time we remain closed. If you can’t make it here to return your materials, don’t worry about it—we understand that there are other concerns on your minds right now.

We are offering weekly virtual storytimes via our Facebook page—stay tuned for announcements. We will be uploading videos of our librarians doing rhymes, songs, books, and more.

We are answering reference questions via phone between the hours of 11am and 4pm, Monday through Saturday. Call us at (585) 872-7075 option 3, especially if you’d like help setting up your OverDrive or Libby account to access our online catalog of items. This includes ebooks, audiobook, movies, and magazines. Anyone with a Monroe County Library System card can access these!

We are planning social media posts with activities for you and building new Pinterest boards with crafts that can be done with limited supplies at home. We are rapidly rescheduling our programs, planning elaborate new ones, cleaning house here, and looking ahead.

As our community moves online, we remain a community. Your library is still here for you! We will adapt to the situation to provide for new necessities, and we will do it together. And as everything returns to usual, we will be here then too. We’ll get from here to there together.

We can’t wait to see you again soon. And until then, we’ll see you online and over the phone.

More closings and delays

I pulled this updated list of closings and delays from the channel 8 website this morning:

https://www.rochesterfirst.com/news/local-news/closings-and-delays-in-the-rochester-region/

Need your St. Patrick’s Day music fix?

Among other things, 2020 will probably come to be known as the year without a St. Patrick’s Day. If any area bars and pubs have not yet closed, they will be soon, and certainly I’m not going near one tomorrow.

So if you (like me) need a St. Patrick’s Day music fix, may I recommend this live stream by my friends Brian and Rose of House of Hamill. (They’re calling it a “Quaran-stream.”)

These two internationally-known Irish musicians are outstanding fiddle players and vocalists — and more. And since, like Irish musicians around the world, most of their gigs have been canceled, they’ve decided to share some love and provide a free online, live-stream, hour-long concert for anyone who wants to tune in.

The performance will take place from 7 to 8 p.m. tomorrow night (St. Patrick’s Day). Just click on the link above (or here). It is truly free, but they will have a virtual PayPal “tip jar” for anyone included to throw them a few bucks.  

Read more details about the event and House of Hamill here.

house of hamill

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Strike up the bands!

11 Mar
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Members of last year’s Willink Student-Parent Band warm up before a rehearsal.

Whether you like to play — or just listen to — great band music, here are two events you’ll want to know about.

The Willink Student-Parent Band will hold its annual spring concert this coming Saturday, March 14 in the Willink Middle School cafetorium, 900 Publishers Parkway.

The band is celebrating its 26th year in 2020, continuing a tradition which began in 1994, bringing students, family and community together to create music and have fun.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $2 and can be purchased either from band members or at the door.

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Our very own Webster Village Band is kicking off its season, having just released its 2020 rehearsal schedule.

Rehearsals take place on Thursday evenings from 7 to 9 pm, usually in the Willink Middle School band room. They’ll begin this Thursday March 12 and run through June 4, with a concerts scheduled pre-season concerts scheduled for April 23 at Calkins Rd. Middle School in Pittsford and May 7 at Cherry Ridge Senior Center.

The all-volunteer Webster Village Band is comprised of more than 50 members,  under the direction of Tom Indiano and Associate Director Sue Siegmund. They’re always looking for more musicians to join the group. Additional information is available from Harvey Cohen, at hcohen@rochester.rr.com. Plus, you can see more rehearsal information on their website here.

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Barry’s Old School Irish gearing up for St. Patrick’s Day

4 Mar

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Now that it’s finally March and Valentine’s Day is in the rear-view mirror, planning for St. Patrick’s Day here at our little corner Irish pub is in high gear. And of course, when Danny and Jessica Barry do the planning, the St. Patrick’s Day celebrating can no way be contained to just one day.

Starting Sunday March 8, Barry’s will host a series of events, one almost every day, building up to a full schedule of events on Parade Day and St. Patrick’s Day itself.

You can check the Barry’s Old School Irish Facebook page for more details, and I’ll post more soon, but here are some highlights:

  • Sunday March 8: Whiskey tasting from 2 to 4 p.m.  Cost is $20 per person and registration is required.
  • Tuesday March 10: Our weekly Barry’s Run/Walk,  and free etched pint glasses on the house, courtesy Guinness. 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday March 11: Trivia Night, beginning at 7:15 p.m. Gotta register for this one, too, since table space is limited.
  • Thursday March 12: Open Mic Night at 7 p.m.
  • Friday March 13: Irish Music Sing Along with Kevin Reynolds
  • Saturday March 14 (Parade Day): Music, dance and food all day beginning at 8 a.m. including, for the first time in several years, a return engagement by Barry’s Crossing.
  • Tuesday March 17: More music, dancing, food, great drink, bagpiper, all day.

Check the Barry’s Old School Irish Facebook page for details.

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Your mug on a mug of Guinness?

7 Feb

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So I was at Barry’s Old School Irish last night (I see that shocked and surprised look on your face) and was talking with Jess about plans for tomorrow’s Great Guinness Toast. (If you’re a Guinness lover and haven’t heard about this event yet, read more here. You don’t want to miss it.)

One of the highlights of the evening will be a visit by Guinness representatives, who will have what Danny and Jess called a “Guinness design machine.”

When I was there last night I had to ask her what the heck that was.

Apparently, Guinness has this machine that can imprint a sepia-toned photo on the foam of your freshly-poured Guinness. They call it a “STOUTie.” It’s created with a natural malt extract that’s added to the top of the beer, and since it’s malt, it won’t alter the taste of the beer.

Guinness only introduced this technology in November at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin when they hosted the International Stout Festival. So it’s just now making it over to this side of the pond, and chances are, Barry’s is one of the first pubs to experience it.

And that’s because Barry’s — our little corner pub in our little village — sells more Guinness than any other pub or restaurant in the Greater Rochester area and beyond.

So you can be one of the first to get your head on a head of beer.

Tomorrow’s Great Guinness toast will also feature free Guinness for everyone, entertainment by Billy Herring and other fun stuff. Click here for more information.

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The Rec Center ice rink is open — and better than ever

25 Jan

IMG_2606Good news for ice skaters! It’s finally been cold enough for long enough this winter for the Webster Recreation Center to open its ice rink.

As far as I know, it’s the only outdoor public ice surface in town, and since it opened several years ago, it’s been very popular with families and hockey players. And this season, I’m happy to report, it’s even better than ever.

Thanks to the efforts of the Webster Rotary, this season the rink — which measures 52 ft. x 104 ft. — has a brand new liner AND a spacious warming hut where skaters can sit and put on their skates while protected from the weather.

The hut itself measures 16 ft. x 10 ft. Inside are two benches and thick rubber flooring to prevent damage to skates. There’s also a window in one side which allows for what meager sunlight we get in the winter months. 

As for the new liner, Mark Yaeger, Webster’s Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, calls it a “great addition in this climate when we have a thaw.”

He explained,

In the past we would lose the water seeping into the ground and we would have to start from scratch. With the liner the water stays and refreezes within a day or two. Building the ice rink from scratch takes about 4 or 5 days. 

The Webster Rotary Club purchased the new liner and sidewalls in 2018, and last year purchased the materials for the warming hut. Rotarian Rich Comins designed the building and enlisted support from Yeager and his Parks and Rec employees to construct the building.

The Rotary and Rec Center hope to have an official grand opening ceremony for the hut in the next few weeks. Watch for news of that!

The Webster Recreation Center is located at 1350 Chiyoda Drive, just north of the Village of Webster. For updated ice conditions, call 872-7103, option 3.

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The 2020 Greater Rochester Peep Show has been announced!

20 Jan

peeps 3Good news for those of you who love those marshmallow Peeps candies. The 2020 Greater Rochester Marshmallow Peep Show is right around the corner.

If you’ve never heard about this really fun event, you’re going to want to keep reading, especially if you like eating those yellow (and now pink and purple and whatever other colors) marshmallow chicks and ducks. I’ve never been a big fan. I put them in the same category as those faux-orange circus peanuts. They squeak when you bite into them.

But I LOVE the Peep Show. This is a two-day event at the Webster Recreation Center, where at least four entire rooms are filled with incredibly creative sculptures, dioramas, and various other works of art created with Peeps. It’s simply the cutest thing ever.  (Click here for a small photo gallery from 2019.)

This year’s show is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday March 28 and 29 at the Webster Recreation Center. More details will come (but it’s free and great family fun). But for now, Peep Show organizers are looking for Peep creators.

Businesses, organizations or individuals are encouraged to enter a display for judging. Prizes will be awarded at the end of the show for the display that gets the most visitor votes.

Not feeling very artistic? You can support the event in other ways as well. You can hang a poster, donate a prize or become a partner in underwriting the show. Several levels of sponsorship are available, and all proceeds will benefit the Webster Community Chest.

This is a banner year for the Greater Rochester Marshmallow Peep Show, its fifth annual. It’s come a long way since it began, but I can’t see how it can be further improved. (Although I believe this is the first year they included “marshmallow” in the official name, perhaps dissuading those who walked away disappointed that the “Peep Show” offered a different kind of entertainment.)

This is a must-see family event, folks.

You can see more photos, and find out more about the show and how you can help by visiting the Rochester Peep Show website here, or email peepshow@frontier.com.

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The Village Quilt Shoppe is back!

8 Jan

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Vanetta Parshall, Monique Liberti and their cute little quilt shop are back in business on East Main St.

They’ve been closed for a little more than a month, thanks to a water leak in the apartment above them which significantly damaged the shop and destroyed a good chunk of their inventory. Along with many friends and family members, they’ve been working hard in recent weeks to bring the shop back up to par. (Check out the photos to see for yourself!)

Vanetta and Monique have even managed to turn a very negative event into a lot of positives.

When I stopped in yesterday, their first day back in business, I saw that the shop is not only back in full swing, but in many ways is better than before. The ladies saw the forced-renovation opportunity to add more and better shelves, increase their inventory, and put down a whole new floor. This week they also introduced their new loyalty program and a monthly gift certificate drawing for customers who pay with cash or check.

Also, during the month of January for every sale over $25 customers will receive a sealed Red or White Fabulous February envelope, which can then be returned (unopened) in February to find prizes inside like gift certificates and discounts.

To celebrate their reopening, The Village Quilt Shoppe will host a “We’re Back” party this Saturday Jan. 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be raffles, sales, treats and a hot chocolate bar.

The shop is located at 21 East Main, at the corner of Lapham Park. Find out more on their website here and Facebook page here.

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