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Our village summer is ending on a high note

29 Aug

If you happened to walk or drive by Veteran’s Memorial Park last night while the Friday Night Gazebo Concert was happening, you might have thought we were having a regular village summer after all.

That is, if you disregarded the fact that audience members were all grouped into individual, socially-distanced white squares spray-painted in the grass.

Regardless of how weird it looked, the arrangement didn’t seem to bother anybody; the large number of people who had gathered to enjoy the smooth jazz tunes from Judah Sealy just seemed very happy to be able to enjoy a Friday Night Concert again on a beautiful summer evening.

The last of this summer’s three concerts is scheduled for next Friday night, Sept. 4, featuring one of the Webster Jazz Fest favorites, the Bill Tiberio Band. The concert begins at 7 p.m., and you’re welcome to come earlier in the day to choose a square and set up your chairs.

Veteran’s Memorial Park is located on North Ave., just steps from the village’s four corners.

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Immanuel Lutheran food drive a big success

28 Aug

Thank you to everyone who took the time to stop by Immanuel Lutheran Church last weekend to donate to the church’s food drive. Ed Huehn, one of the drive’s organizers, reports that it was a great success.

Immanuel Lutheran, located at 131 W. Main Street in the Village of Webster, has been a longtime sponsor of the Webster Schools’ Weekend Food Backpack Program, which provides bags of food for more than 70 children in all seven of the district’s elementary schools.

The church also is home to one of the town’s several Little Free Pantries. These tall cabinets, which resemble very large Little Free Libraries, are placed in parking lots or other public places, and packed with food and toiletry items. Based on a “take what you need, leave what you can” philosophy, community members in need can stop by at any time and help themselves to whatever they can use.

When the schools all closed in March, and backpack food deliveries could no longer be made, the church community shifted distribution to the Little Free Pantry in their parking lot.

Before last Saturday’s food drive, Ed said, both their pantry and storeroom were almost empty. But by the end of the day, they were full again thanks to the generosity of our Webster community members. All the donations will be used to restock the pantry daily, and start up the Weekend Food Backpack Program again when school buildings reopen.

WHAM-Channel 13 stopped by and posted a short story on the effort. You can see that here.

How you can help

If you missed the food drive but would still like to help out, the church continues to accept donations for their hunger ministry initiatives. According to their website,

Items that can be donated to the pantry include non-perishable foods such as pasta, cereal, pancake mix, soups, canned fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, sugar, and flour. Personal hygiene and toiletry items such as soap, tooth paste, deodorant, toilet paper and diapers. Children’s coloring books and crayons can also items that can help out a family.

Just recently, Immanuel Lutheran added a large produce stand next to their pantry. If you have an extra garden vegetables this summer, they would also be very welcome.

Immanuel Lutheran Church’s Little Free Pantry, located in the church’s parking lot, with a brand new companion produce stand.

Webster’s other Little Free Pantries are located at St. Martin on Bay Road, Webster Baptist Church in the Village of Webster and the United Church of Christ on Klem Road. Any one of these organizatons would greatly appreciate your donations.

Webster community mailbag

8 Aug

There are several ways for you to help out your community — and environment — in today’s mailbag.

Bottle and Can Drive

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For starters, the Webster Marching Band will hold their next bottle and can drive on Saturday August 22 at Webster Schroeder High School, 875 Ridge Rd. 

Bottles and cans can be dropped off at the high school from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day. If you have any that you’d like to have picked up before then, simply call the Bottle and Can Hotline at 234-8684, select option 1, leave a message, and someone will be in touch to pick up your returnables.

Food Drive

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That same day, Saturday August 22, Immanuel Lutheran Church at 131 West Main Street in Webster will host a non-perishable food drive. All donations will be used for the church’s Little Free Pantry and the WCSD Food Backpack Program.

Click on the poster above for more information about items they particularly need. The drive will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Blood Drive

blood drive

Another local opportunity for you to help save lives with your blood donation will take place on Tuesday Aug. 25 from 1 to 7 p.m. at the Webster Volunteer Fire Department Firemen’s Building, 172 Sanford Street. To set up your appointment, call 1-800-Red-Cross. 

Electronics Recycling

The next local electronics recycling event will be held at Xerox on Saturday August 29 from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

The last time one of these drives was held at Xerox, the line of cars stretched down Phillips Rd. So organizers are requesting that everybody pre-register for this drive. Click here to do that.

Items that will be accepted include cell phones, computers, monitors, printers, audio video equipment, and small devices. There’s a limit of four TV monitors per car.

Book Sale! 

The Webster Public Library will hold a pop-up book sale on Thursday August 13 from noon to 4 p.m. outside the library on Van Ingen Dr.

All books will be $1 each. Please bring cash, wear your mask, and follow the social distancing guidelines that are laid out at the sale.

Movies and Concerts Return!

The Village of Webster is squeezing as much summer out of this year as they can.

Movies in the Gazebo Park series will return with two showings in the coming week in Veterans Memorial Park on North Ave.

Monsters uniMonsters University will be shown on Tuesday Aug. 11, and Charlie Wilson’s War with Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman on Saturday Aug. 15.

Both movies will begin at dusk, around 9 p.m. To encourage social distancing, the park will be marked off with specific “family areas” spaced six feet apart in the grass. There will be plenty of room for chairs and/or blankets within each spot and facial masks must be worn when outside your family space. There will be room for about 60 family spaces and are first-come, first-served. You can place your chairs or blankets in a space to reserve it on movie or concert days anytime after 2 p.m. the day of the event.

No popcorn will be served so feel free to bring your own snacks and drinks.

And the (abbreviated) Friday Night Concert Series is back, too!

Friday Aug. 21 will feature Super Mini Prime Time Funk with Ronnie Leigh on vocals and sax, Dave Cohen on drums, Andy Calabrese on keys and Ron France on bass.

Friday Aug. 28, the Juday Sealy Band will take the stage. Recently Judah, a School of the Arts grad,  released his highly anticipated single called “Off The Charts” which spent two months on the Billboard Smooth Jazz chart. The group also features Webster HS graduate Deepak Thettu on guitar.

The Bill Tiberio Band returns Friday Sept 4, with Bill Tiberio on alto and tenor sax, Scott Bradley on trumpet and keyboards, Vinnie Ruggiero on guitar, Phil Lake on drums and Geoff Smith on bass.

The concerts are from 7 to 9 p.m. For more information visit websterbid.com.

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This family-friendly Webster Village history tour is like no other

31 Jul

A Webster resident and geocache aficionado has devised a fun way for entire families to learn a bit more about village history.

I’m sure you’ve heard about geocaching. This extremely popular hide-and-seek challenge uses GPS coordinates to guide participants to hidden “caches.” Each one includes a logbook and some trinkets. You choose one of the trinkets and leave one of your own.

I’ve never been a big fan of geocaching, being a letterboxing gal myself. But this brand-new Webster Walkabout” history geocaching challenge created by my friend Gerry Sander is something I would recommend to anyone and everyone, especially families.

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The Webster Walkabout is not your typical geocache puzzle, where you download the coordinates for one cache and then search for a physical, hidden box. Instead, this activity is part of the relatively new “Adventure Lab” geocaching platform, which guides participants to a series of virtual caches — in this case, historically significant properties within the Village of Webster.

At each stop, the game prompts you to answer a question by typing in a word that can be found on a sign or plaque nearby. The correct answer unlocks the clue to the next location. Some of the walkabout stops even include videos, which is cool.

Then the whole experience gets even better. Once you complete the Adventure Lab, you’ll be given a code to unlock a special bonus puzzle geocache located at the Webster Museum, 18 Lapham Park.

When Gerry started planning out his Adventure Lab series, he immediately thought of a historical tour, and first considered making it a town-wide hunt. But after discussing his idea with Webster Village Historian Lynn Barton, he narrowed his focus.

I met with Lynn Barton and the Webster Museum and she gave me all kinds of ideas. Just talking with her that initial time, we decided to limit the focus to just the village. There were enough places around the village which have historical significance. Since it’s only five (stops), we could basically make it a walking tour so people can come to the village, visit these historical places, get the feel of the village, maybe visit Barry’s or some of the restaurants, and drive people to the museum. 

It kind of meshed really well. 

Gerry also got support from Webster Village Mayor Darrell Byerts and Webster Supervisor Tom Flaherty, both of whom recorded videos for the walkabout.

Gerry has been hunting geocaches for 14 years, has found more than 2800 of them and placed another 24 of his own. This, however, is his first Adventure Lab challenge.  If it’s successful and people seem to have fun with it, perhaps he can follow it up with one that teaches us even more about the Town of Webster.

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Outside the Webster Museum with the newly installed gadget box are Museum President Tom Pellett, Gerry Sander, and Museum board member Jill Kraft. The box can be unlocked only after completing the 5 virtual caches in the Webster Walkabout Adventure Lab.

Want to try the Webster Walkabout? Here are the details:  

The Webster Walkabout guides participants to five historically significant Village of Webster buildings, on a walk that’s about 1.5 miles. The route is entirely along village sidewalks, so it’s handicap accessible and great for all ages. It should take about an hour.

After the last stop, you want to stroll over to the Webster Museum at 18 Lapham Park. There, attached to the front of the building, you’ll find the ultimate geocaching award, a “gadget box.” This is a bonus puzzle cache which the kids especially are going to LOVE. You’ll need a combination to get into the lock on this one, which is provided once you complete all five stops.

Participants need a smart phone (Android or iPhone), with the Adventure Lab app installed (it’s free). Because it’s multi-media and location based, you’ll need to use your data and have location services enabled.

To open the Webster Walkabout Adventure Lab in the mobile app, click on this URL:  https://labs.geocaching.com/goto/WEBSTER

Have fun!

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Movies in the Park are back!

29 Jul

The Village of Webster is trying its best to give our community something resembling a normal summer.

So in a few weeks, the Movies in the Gazebo Park series will return for kind of like a trial run. in Veterans Memorial Park on North Ave.

Monsters uniMonsters University will be shown on Tuesday Aug. 11, and Charlie Wilson’s War with Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman on Saturday Aug. 15.

Both movies will begin around 9 p.m. To encourage social distancing, the park will be marked off with specific “family areas” spaced six feet apart in the grass. There will be plenty of room for chairs and/or blankets within each spot and facial masks must be worn when outside your family space. There will be room for about 60 family spaces and are first-come, first-served.

No popcorn will be served so feel free to bring your own snacks and drinks. For more information visit websterbid.com.

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Veterans Memorial Park will also be host to a return engagement by comic Rudolph Valentino this Friday July 31.  He’ll be joined by his co-host and funny friend Kevin Markman.

gazeboThis is a family-friendly show. There’s no admission, and water and snacks can be purchased, if this show will be anything like the last. And you’ll laugh a lot.

Bring your quad chairs and a cooler if you like, and bring a mask in case you have to sit too close to anyone or want to hit up the vendors. But it’s a spacious area, so there shouldn’t be any problem social distancing. The show is slated to start at 7 p.m. But it started late last time so don’t worry if you’re running late.

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Ooooooo Lala!

28 Jul

IMG_20200725_155930252_HDR

Lala of Webster has expanded, and the new place looks beautiful.

Owner Lisa Schlonski of Lala of Webster, a lovely gift shop and boutique at 38 East Main in the village, celebrated her grand opening last weekend, introducing her newly expanded space to the Webster community.

In business for just a little more than 18 months, owner Lisa doubled her space by expanding next door into the former Pickled Paintbrush shop, which unfortunately lost the pandemic economic battle a few months ago. Lala now has not just two, but three floors.

The shop’s two original spaces still look much the same, with a wide variety of gift items, jewelry and wellness products. But now with the added space, there’s a lot more room for everything, and more.

The new, adjacent room has a dedicated spot for local vendors (about 30 of them) and so many cute inspirational gift items (I bought a few myself). Upstairs is a ladies’ boutique with clothing and more jewelry, and a children’s room with baby items, toys and stuffed animals for all our young friends.

There are too many adorable things to mention here. You just gotta see it to appreciate it. I’ve always said that Lala is exactly the kind of shop we need here in Webster. I didn’t think it could get any better, but it sure did.

Lala of Webster is located at 38 East Main Street. For more information and hours, visit their website here or Facebook page here.

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Honoring our first responders

27 Jul

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Better late than never, I’d like to post a follow-up report on the mini-parade that took place along East Main Street on Thursday night.

There obviously was no Firemen’s Parade this year, but Lori Allen and her family was undaunted, setting up their parade chairs outside their Main Street home anyway, at what would have normally been parade time (albeit a week late thanks to the monsoon). They handed out free flags to passersby, accepted donations for our first responders, and welcomed visits by officers from the Webster PD and Webster Volunteer FD firefighters.

I wasn’t able to make the festivities, but Lori posted this on her Facebook page:

Not a bad turnout ! Thank you all who stopped and got a lag, beeped your horn and waved, and those who donated! Thank you Webster Police Dept for stopping and also thank you to the Webster fireman and woman for coming as well and to all the firemen THANK YOU for what you do! 

Before the end of the evening, Lori raised $218 through donations from passers-by.

I don’t know exactly who took all these photos, but here are a few from the evening:

Many thanks to the Allen family for reminding us what community is all about.

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The parade will go on!

21 Jul

Well, sort of.

Last weekend I posted about Lori Allen and her family, who were planning to do something special last Thursday night in honor of the Webster Fireman’s Parade.

The plan was, on Thursday evening, which in a normal year would have been Parade Night, they were going to set up their chairs in front of their house at Baker and East Main (as they do every year). Then, during the normally scheduled parade time, they would hand out flags and encourage drivers to honk on their way by.

Well, you may remember that a monsoon blew through town last Thursday night, so that event was cancelled, as would have the parade itself, probably.

But Lori has announced that the virtual parade has been rescheduled for this Thursday, July 23.  So as you’re driving or walking through the village that evening around 6:30 or so, watch for them, grab a flag, toot your horn and join in the celebration!

flags

The event is as much a celebration of the parade-that-wasn’t as it is a fundraiser for our Webster Volunteer Fire Department.

This is what Lori posted about that on Facebook:

My Dad wants to show support for the firemen, police, all first responders. Thursday we will be sitting up there handing out American flags, and flags with thin blue or red stripes representing our police and firemen along with info on donating.

This is (the WVFD’s) big fundraiser and of course the Carnival has been cancelled due to Covid. So if you’re driving by Baker St., stop and get your flag, or honk as you go by, and please consider donating to the Webster Volunteer Fire Dept. It may be you they come to save.

I imagine that Lori and her family will have a collection jar out there, but if you’re not going to be able to stop by, you can also donate by visiting http://www.donatewvfd.org. Or if you’d rather send a check, make it payable to the Webster Volunteer Fire Dept. Fund, and mail to: Key Bank, 980 Ridge Rd., Webster, NY 14580.

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Webster community mailbag

20 Jul

 

garlic festival

You’ve probably already seen this news, but in case you haven’t: the 2020 Rochester Garlic Festival, scheduled for Sept. 12-13, has been canceled.

The news, which comes on the heels of the cancellation of pretty much everything else this summer, certainly comes as no surprise. But after the festival’s strong return in 2019 after taking a year off, I was looking forward to seeing what it had in store for this year.

But we’ll have to wait until next summer.

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gazeboDid you miss out on attending the terrific, family-friendly comedy act that came to the gazebo a few Fridays ago? (Click here to read the blog I wrote about that show.)  Well, your next chance to enjoy some laughs is coming up on July 31.

Rudolph Valentino will return to the gazebo in Veterans Memorial Park on North Ave. on Friday night July 31. He’ll be joined by his co-host and funny friend Kevin Markman.

There’s no admission, and water and snacks can be purchased, if this show will be anything like the last. And you’ll laugh a lot.

Bring your quad chairs and a cooler if you like, and bring a mask in case you have to sit too close to anyone or want to hit up the vendors. But it’s a spacious area, so there shouldn’t be any problem social distancing. The show is slated to start at 7 p.m. But it started late last time so don’t worry if you’re running late.

webster_banner

Finally, some news from the schools.

Congratulations to my former Webster Thomas teaching colleague Carol Saladzius, who was recently hired as assistant principal at Hilton High School. Carol and I worked together for several years at Thomas — me in the library and she a Spanish teacher — and I am happy for her new adventure.

Congratulations also to the Webster Thomas Best Buddies program, which last week was named the most outstanding high school chapter in New York State for 2020.

Best Buddies is a nationwide program which matches special education students with peer buddies who have similar interests.  The peer buddy makes a commitment to reach out to their buddy once a week outside school via email or telephone, and to get together and do something outside school with their buddy once a month.

The program came to Western New York four years ago and Webster Thomas was one of the first high schools to sign up. To read more about the program here in New York State, click here.

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Have you signed your school-age child up for school yet?

Our students will be going back to school one way or another this September, and the district really needs to know how many students to expect. So if your child isn’t already registered for the 2020-21 school year, please do so ASAP.

The New York State Department of Education requires all school-age students age 5-6 (in the given school year) and older be registered in some sort of education program in the district in which they live. This includes students who will be attending public school, those who will be going to private and parochial schools, those who have moved into a new school district, and those who will be home-schooled. (These can be changed at any time, but prior registration is still required.)

If you have a child who will be 5 years old on or before December 1, that child is eligible for kindergarten enrollment. Families new to Webster CSD with children grades 1-12 may also enroll their children at this time. For more information and to download registration packets, click here.

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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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