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Chip off the old blog

19 Jan

IMG_20180119_070716225There’s a new columnist in town, and it’s a proud mommy moment for me.

My daughter Erin has officially become a new columnist for the Webster Herald. Her column, which she is calling the “Village Beat,” will be published every two weeks in the Herald, and on the village website.

Erin is taking the reins from long-time Webster Herald columnist Carol Klem, who wrote the very popular “Village Focus” column for 12 years.  Knowing that there is really no way to replace Carol Klem, Erin explained in her first column, published on January 3, that she’ll be approaching the piece a bit differently.

She wrote,

I don’t live in the village like Carol does; I’m a Webster native, but I’m a few miles away from the center of town. For me, village life isn’t something I’ve spent my time surrounded by, at least not until the last few years. Still, that doesn’t mean I haven’t felt at home out on Main Street. The village is a place I go in order to meet with friends, spend time with family, have a pint. It’s where I go for experiences that are new and familiar at the same time. Every day is a different experience out there, but no less rewarding. Now I just have the privilege of being able to write down and share those experiences with you.

Now that the Village Beat is column is up and running (her second installment was published this week), Erin needs your help.

She’s going to need your press releases and emails, letting her know what’s going on in the village.  She’s going to want to know about your special events, important anniversaries, heartwarming village stories about village people and places. Let’s start flooding her email box with ideas for future columns, and help her share with everyone else all the things we love about the Village of Webster.

Email your news to

And remember to check out the new column in the Webster Herald and online.

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Carol Klem Day declaration packed the house

23 Nov


It was standing room only in the Community Meeting Hall for Tuesday night’s Village Board meeting, and not a one of them had come to complain about some problem they were having in the village.

No, the Board had announced that Tuesday November 21 would forever be known as Carol Klem Day, and almost 100 of Carol’s friends, family members and business owners had come to witness the official proclamation.

Trying to get the large, chatty crowd organized so they could start the meeting on time was kind of like herding cats. But eventually everyone found a seat or a spot along the wall, and Mayor Darrell Byerts called the meeting to order.

The proclamation was the first order of business. Carol Carol with proclamationjoined the board members at the podium as Mayor Byerts read the official document. There were a lot of “whereas”es and at least one “let it be known,” but the gist of the document were these paragraphs, which related to Carol’s work with the Webster Herald:

Whereas her (Village Voice) articles helped to support local organizations and businesses old and new and to promote community events all year long,

and whereas her journalistic expertise has ultimately strengthened the village and everything it stands for as a close-knit, supportive and fun community by bringing people together.

Following the presentation of the official document, several others stepped up to the podium to express their gratitude.

Village Trustee Jude Lancy, who helped pull this event together, sent along this list of thank-yous for helping make the evening’s festivities successful:

Thank you to:

  • Mayor Darrell Byerts for coming up with the the idea of Carol Klem Day, and the beautiful plaque commemorating this event.
  • Carol’s daughter MaryKay, for gathering early information on Carol’s life and bringing the family to the presentation;
  • Robyn Whitaker for the plaque presented to Carol from the Business Improvement District, in appreciation of her support;
  • Bill Horeth and Kathy Mills, representing Kittelberger Florist for the presentation of long-stemmed red roses in thanks for Carol’s contribution to the village and businesses;
  • Sharon Pratt, representing the Museum, who gave thanks for all of Carol’s contributions to the welfare of the museum;
  • Jake Swingly and Steve Small for “starring” Carol Klem on the digital billboard in front of the South Avenue fire house;
  • Dorothea Ciccarelli for showing the Village Hall’s appreciation and her own appreciation for the support given to her daughter, Lacey;
  • Maegan Lessing for her efforts in preparing the proclamation, getting everyone’s signatures and finding a suitable frame;
  • and thanks to everyone in attendance for a standing-room only gathering for our one and only Carol Klem.

Erin and CarolLater in the meeting, after most of the well-wishers had left, another notable event happened.

Mayor Byerts announced that a new columnist had been found who will be taking the Village Focus reins from Carol. The new columnist will soon be starting up the weekly column again, plus a new blog to be posted on the village website.

Then he officially introduced — and the Board officially approved — my daughter, Erin Rosenberry.

Several details have yet to be worked out.  But as soon as Erin gets an email up and running, I hope the Village of Webster will support her — as you have supported me — as she shares all the good things our community has to offer.

Carol with Village Board

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Village resident petitions Board for new stop signs

13 Jul

Joe Cassara is getting tired of cars speeding by his house on Dunning Ave., so he’s asked the Village to do something about it.

The current speed limit on Dunning is 30 miles per hour. Cassara said that at times, vehicles travel down Dunning at an excessive rate of speed, by his estimate from 40-60 miles an hour.  The stretch from Main Street to Fuller Ave is wide, flat, straight and unimpeded, making it an easy place to speed.

Cassara wrote,

Many of the houses in this neighborhood are owned or rented by families with young children. Dunning is a popular street for surrounding areas (Park, Elm, Curtice Park, Fuller, Lapham Park, Ridge), and is often filled with families walking, riding bikes, and playing outside. The speeding problem is dangerous to residents, and the posted speed limits aren’t enough to deter drivers of all ages from disobeying the law.

So last week he approached the Village Board and asked that stop signs be erected at Dunning and Elm, and Dunning and Park to slow the traffic.

“(The Board was) receptive to the stop signs,” Cassara reported, “and asked me to get a bunch of signatures to support my case. Then, they’ll bring it back for a vote to send to a public forum, the next step in the process.”

So Cassara has created an online petition which you can check out for details, sign if you’d like, and share with your friends and neighbors.  You can see it by clicking here.

The proposed stop signs would go at the corners of Elm Street and Park Ave. where they meet Dunning Ave.

Public input requested on planned village traffic improvements

20 May

The Village of Webster is considering making major improvements in traffic patterns for pedestrians, bicycles and automobiles, and is now inviting residents to weigh in on the plans.

A public meeting will be held on Wednesday June 5 to provide the public with a chance to review and comment on draft recommendations for suggested improvements to West Main and North Avenue.

The public meeting will include a presentation by study consultants about the village’s transportation characteristics and conditions, and evaluations of traffic flow, parking, and pedestrian and bicycle safety.  It will be followed by a discussion of village transportation needs as expressed by area residents.

Finally, recommended strategies and improvements will be presented for public comment. Preliminary recommendations include major changes at the Route 104/ North Avenue interchange and changes to East and West Main Streets. (Scroll down to see renderings of the proposed changes.)

This meeting is part of a major study of transportation in the village being funded by the Genesee Transportation Council in conjunction with the village’s new Comprehensive Plan. Its purpose is to improve circulation, accessibility, parking, and safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists in the village.

According to the release I received, during the development of the Comprehensive Plan,

the public expressed considerable concern about the lack of vitality and limited consumer buying opportunities in the business district; the location of parking and the perception of too little parking; generally increased traffic, as well as event-related congestion; poor signage; and the pedestrian and barrier and safety issues created by Route 104. Moreover the continued expansion of commercial activity in the Town of Webster outside the Village is creating increased competition for Village businesses and pressuring business owners and the Village government to seek changes that will keep and attract business investment and people.

The workshop will be held Wednesday June 5 at 7 pm in the Community Meeting Hall, 29 South Avenue. For more information on the Public Workshop, contact Glenn Cooke at or by calling (585) 269-4939.


Plans are to put dedicated bike lanes on West Main. Click on the image to enlarge.


Major changes in store for the Rt. 104/North Ave. interchange. Click on the image to enlarge.

Webster BID announces summer schedule

16 May

The Village’s Business Improvement District (BID) has announced its summer lineup of special events, and this year they’ve added some exciting new ones.

So go grab your calendars. I’ll wait.


OK, here we go.  First let’s talk about the events you’re already familiar with.

This summer’s Friday Night Concerts in the Gazebo begin on June 14, with a performance by Keys to the Cady.  Here’s the whole schedule:

* June 14: Keys to the Cady 
* June 21: Dang
* June 28:  Electro Kings
* July 19: Bill Tibero Jazz
* July 26: An Evening of Acapella
* August 16: Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra
* August 23: Johnny B and the MVPs

All of the concerts begin at 7 pm at the gazebo in Veterans Memorial Park on North Avenue.

The Tuesday night Movies in the Park series begins on July 9 with a showing of Rise of the Guardian. This year the BID has also partnered with the Webster Public Library to help keep kids entertained with a story hour before a few of the movies. Those two are indicated below along with another special event sponsored by Barnes & Noble.

* July 9: Rise of the Guardian and Webster Library Story Hour
* July 16: Thunderstruck and Webster Library Story Hour
* July 23: Wall-E
* August 6: Cool Runnings
* August 13: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
* August 20: The Lorax, and Barnes & Noble Dr. Seuss Night

The very popular Webster Jazz Festival returns on Saturday July 20, and Village Days returns in August for not just one, but TWO weekends. The Village Days Music Fest will take place on August 9 and 10, and the Street Festival on Saturday August 17.

Now here’s where things get exciting.

The BID is introducing two brand new events this summer which not only will bring people into the village, but will help our community at the same time.

The first is called Helping Hands, a week-long promotion from June 14-22.

Here’s how it works: Participating businesses choose one of six charities, and donate a percentage of their revenues for the entire week to that charity.

Business owners will choose from the following charities: Holy Trinity Hope House, Webster Monarch House, The Webster Museum, Relay for Life Village Team, Webster Comfort Care Home and Webster Association for Senior Program Support.

Watch for more details and advertising from individual businesses about this great effort.

The second new event is called Eat in the Village.  The dates for this are still up in the air, but it’s tentatively scheduled for every Wednesday night from mid-July to mid-August.  On these evenings, participating village restaurants will offer patrons a 10% discount on food from 4:30 pm till close.

Keep an eye on the BID website for updates on all of these events as plans come together.

I’ve put all of these events on a handy dandy calendar below which you can click on, print off and paste to your refrigerator. It looks like a wicked fun summer ahead for the village of Webster.

On a side note, I learned about all of these events from BID president Tom Spoonhower, who announced them at the last Village Board meeting. If you haven’t attended one of these meetings recently or watched them on TV, you’re missing out.  They’ve actually been very entertaining in a small-town drama sort of way.  Frankly, though, a little less drama would be in the village’s best interests.

Village Board meetings are held the second and fourth Thursday of the month in the Community Meeting Hall, 29 South Avenue. Access is off the parking lot in the back. If you’d like to catch up on some of the recent action, click here to watch video of the meetings. (The videos take a while to post, so check back regularly.)


A new era in village politics begins

14 Apr

The newly constituted Village Board: (l-r) Trustees Al Balcaen and Jerry Ippolito Jr.; Mayor John Cahill; Trustees Darrell Byerts and Jude Lancy

I was in the audience with more than 30 others on Thursday night for the first Village Board meeting presided over by newly elected mayor John Cahill.  I think I was not the only one who wanted to see how well things — and the new board members — settled in after a rather acrimonious campaign and election.

And I’m pleased to say they seem to be settling in rather well.

Mayor Cahill opened the meeting with a very nice thank you to village staff members who have make the transition a smooth one, and to the village residents who put him in office.  He also reassured those residents that the new board would immediately address the water issue. “It is a pledge I will work to make a reality,” he said, with the warning that it would be “major, long-term effort.”

This first meeting of the village political calendar is always the annual operational meeting, filled with a litany of procedural housekeeping items necessary to keep the village running. But a few small, yet very important, issues kept the meeting hopping.

The first was the resolution authorizing the mayor and a village trustee to begin negotiations with Monroe County Water Authority. Mayor Cahill asked for a “rising” vote rather than the standard voice vote, and to their credit, every single board member stood to indicate their “yes” vote for the resolution.   No matter what personal position each board member has on this issue, it’s clear what village residents want, and voting to work with the MCWA was the right thing to do.

The second was a resolution to reinstate the Village Board salaries to their previous level. This was necessitated by a vote taken by the previous Village Board at their last meeting of the year to reduce the salaries of the mayor and village trustees. Their rationale was that since 25% of the board members’ salaries is for their service as commissioners of the village water department, and since the current board has pledged to eliminate the water department, that portion of the salary should also be eliminated.

Former mayor Peter Elder was in the audience and took to the podium to defend the board’s decision, to no avail. Current Board members quickly approved the resolution, reversing what most consider a petty move.

Personally, I was pleased to hear in Mayor Cahill’s opening remarks that his administration would not be focused exclusively on the water issue, that he recognizes the importance of maintaining a strong village in ALL its aspects. In particular, that includes improving cooperation with the town, renewed attention to code enforcement and expanding special events.

It was obvious that Mayor Cahill is still learning the ropes of his new office, but despite bungling a few Roberts Rules of Order, things appear to be off to a strong start.  So, as Mayor Cahill concluded in his opening statement, “Let’s roll our sleeves and get to work.”


Outgoing village board members vote to cut salaries

9 Apr

There was a very interesting story in this morning’s Democrat and Chronicle about Village Board shenanigans.  Apparently, as one of their last orders of business, the outgoing Village Board members voted to reduce the salaries of the mayor and village trustees.  I had heard the rumor that such a thing had happened, but had never confirmed it, and hoped it was just a rumor. So it was with great interest that I read this morning’s article.

According to the article, the rationale for the vote was this: since 25% of the board members’ salaries is for their service as commissioners of the village water department, and the new board members have pledged to eliminate the village water department, so that part of the salary should also be eliminated.

Well, it didn’t last long. Five days later the newly constituted board board met for the first time and reinstated the salaries in the preliminary budget.

But you can read the whole story yourself here.


Residents came out early to meet the candidates

25 Feb

Open Party candidates Gerard Ippolito, Jr., John Cahill and Darrell Byerts

Last weekend provided an excellent opportunity to find out more about the candidates running in next month’s Webster village election. Candidates from both parties made themselves available to the public Saturday morning, fielding questions and talking about the issues.

The first event, and the bigger of the two, was a breakfast hosted by the Open Party at the Atlantic Restaurant on Ridge Road across from Schroeder High School. About 50 supporters paid $8 a plate for breakfast and a chance to meet with Open Party candidates John Cahill, running for mayor, and  Darrell Byerts and Gerard Ippolito Jr., running for trustees.

Beginning about a half hour after the breakfast, incumbent candidates Mayor Peter Elder, and Trustees Dave Kildal and Christine Reynolds were holding court across town at Barry’s Old School Irish in the village, buying coffee and shaking hands with anyone who wanted to stop in to chat. That event attracted about 30 residents.

Incumbents Dave Kildal, Christine Reynolds and Peter Elder

The coincidental timing of the two events was unfortunate for anyone who really wanted to get some quality time with all the candidates and dig more deeply into the issues. As it was, I think the only people who scurried to make both events were the local media.  For me, that meant having to cut out of the breakfast and head to the village before I heard all of the Open Party candidates’ prepared statements, which is something I was hoping to do.

Events like these are very important to help voters educate themselves. Fliers and yard signs, letters to the editor and print advertisements are all well and good, but voters need the chance to formulate their own questions and follow up on the information they’re being presented in political materials.  Meet-and-greets like these are a great way to accomplish that, and I hope others are planned in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, I encourage you to ask them all some questions through me.

A few days ago I posted this invitation on my blog Facebook page:  If you could ask any of the candidates a question (or two), what would it be?  Send me your questions, I’ll choose the best ones and present them to the candidates. Then I’ll run their answers in my blog.  Email your questions to


Have coffee with the (incumbent) village candidates on Saturday

21 Feb

Incumbent candidates Dave Kildal, Christine Reynolds and Peter Elder

Here’s another great opportunity to become an informed voter for this spring’s village election season.

The incumbent village board candidates will host a coffee-with-the-candidates event this Saturday morning, February 23, at 9:30 at Barry’s Old School Irish Pub & Bakery, 2 West Main Street in the village.  Mayor Peter Elder, Trustee Christine Reynolds and Trustee Dave Kildal will all be there, buying coffee, and visiting with and answering questions from any village residents who’d like to come by.

It’s a busy Saturday morning for our village politicians, and for anyone who’d really like to find out more about the issues and candidates.  Simply get up early enough to have breakfast with the Open Party candidates at the Atlantic Restaurant at 9 am, then drive into the village for coffee with the incumbents.

The village election will take place on Tuesday, March 19.

Meet the Open Party candidates

19 Feb

This spring’s village election season is shaping up to be a bit more interesting than most. Mayor Peter Elder and Village Trustees Christine Reynolds and Dave Kildal are facing a challenge from three village residents.

John Cahill, running for mayor, and Darrell Byerts and Gerard Ippolito, Jr., who are running for village trustees, have formed a brand new, independent party which they call the Open Party.  With the slogan “Fresh Water, Fresh Ideas, Fresh Start,” the party’s stated objectives are to bring softer water to village residents by switching to the Monroe County Water Authority, and to bring more transparency to village government.

Village residents are invited to meet the candidates at a breakfast this Saturday February 23 at 9 am at the Atlantic Restaurant, 888 Ridge Road.  The $8 breakfast cost includes meal, beverage, tax and tip.  Several breakfast options will be offered.

RSVP by Thursday, February 21.  Call Nancy Theis at (585) 265-0449.