Webster community mailbag

4 Jul

mailbag iconToday’s mailbag is so packed that it’s taken me two days to pull it together.

Let’s start with a reminder from the Webster school district, which would REALLY like you to register your kindergartner, or new student,  early. Having an accurate count of how many students to expect this September will help the planning process immensely.

For details, please go to Student Registration at www.websterschools.org.

Local business updates 

The North Bee, one of our newest and cutest businesses, has some new hours: Tuesdaynorth bee 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday 11 to 3,  Friday 10 to 2 and 6 to 8, and Saturday 10 to 3. They’re closed Monday and Wednesday.

The shop will be available on Sundays for private events, and (this sounds like fun) on Tuesday nights in July and August starting on July 9, owner Amy Stringer will have a tent set up outside her shop with kids activities and free honey sticks for each child.  Remember that starting next Tuesday, the village will be starting their Movies in the Park series just across the street at Veterans Memorial Park. So stop by before the movie for some fun and honey!

The North Bee is located at 27 North Ave. in the village.

Exercise has its rewards

ROC & Soul Fitness, 44 East Main St., has a lot of cool classes this month, but one in particular jumped out at me.

unnamedThey call it “Barre in the Beer Garden,” a free, 45-minute barre class held Saturday July 13 at K2 Brewery on Empire Blvd. (21 and over please!)

It’s being held in K2’s spacious new beer garden behind the brewery. If you haven’t been to K2 yet this summer and seen this gorgeous new facility, this would be a great opportunity to check it out.

The class will begin at 10 a.m., and of course you’re invited to stick around for a beer, wine or cocktail afterwards.

July’s Webster Public Library programs are out of this world!

For starters, their galaxy-themed summer reading program is up and running, and all ages can participate.

All you have to do is complete a galaxy game board or a galaxy reading bookmark. Each complete board or bookmark earns you an entry into the weekly prize drawing plus a free book of your choice. Plus, all completed boards will also be added to the grand prize drawing at the end of the summer!

Your kids might also be interested in these two galaxy-themed programs:

  • Race Through Space With American Girls & Boys, Friday July 19 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Learn all about the history of the Space Program in America through the eyes of eight American Girl and Boy characters starting in the 1940s through 2018 where LUCIANA is featured in her real space suit from Space Camp! Don’t forget to bring your favorite doll or stuffed animal to learn right beside you! This program is for boys and girls.

All ages welcome, both boys and girls, and no registration is required.

Teens and tweens have several opportunities to make some Galaxy Crafts:

  • On Friday, July 12, make your own galaxy t-shirt. Please bring a black or very dark colored t-shirt, but all other supplies will be provided.
  • On Friday, July 26, make your own galaxy jewelry. All supplies will be provided.
  • On Friday, August 9, make you own galaxy painting. All supplies will be provided.

All three of these programs run from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and all youth entering grades 6-12 welcome. Registration is required (and limited) and is going on now.

Find out more about these programs on the Webster Public Library website. The library is located at 980 Ridge Rd. at the back side of Webster Plaza.

And don’t forget to visit representatives from library when they set up shop at Webster’s Joe Obbie’s Farmers Market on Saturday July 13. They’ll have raffles, free giveaways and summer program brochures.

The market is located at Webster Towne Center on Holt Road near the gazebo, and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday through October.

Makin’ Music at Cherry Ridge

The next (and last) concert at Cherry Ridge is this coming Tuesday July 9, Featuring Ruby Shooz, beginning at 6:30.

St. Ann’s Community at Cherry Ridge is located at 900 Cherry Ridge Blvd. (off Ridge Road near Five Mile Line Road), Webster. Bring your lawn chairs and/or blankets, and if you need dinner, picnic fare will be available for purchase beginning at 5 p.m.

The concerts are free and open to the public. For details and rainy day information, call (585) 697-6700.

Softball clinic held

softballSome of our stand-out Webster athletes will be lending a hand when the Rochester Lady Lions hold a youth softball clinic on Tuesday July 9 from 5  to 8 p.m. at Mercy High School on Blossom Rd. in Rochester.

Webster Schroeder Varsity pitcher Sydney Bolton will be there, along with program coaches and college softball players to facilitate hitting and fielding stations. The clinic will help girls fine-tune and improve their current skills. Players attending will receive a free clinic t-shirt as well as a tasty frozen treat from Kona Ice.

Girls ages 9 to 13 of all skill levels are welcome. Cost is $20. Click here to visit their website for more information and a registration form.

More to come

I’m working on a few other blogs about upcoming events of interest, including a food truck rodeo at Webster Schroeder High School to benefit the Webster Marching Band, the Strive for 5 school bus safety event for new kindergartners, and the return of the Garlic Festival. There’s also a brand new business in town that I need to let you now about. So stay tuned!

And please drop me a line if your organization has something coming up you’d like help promoting … or even if you want to send me a photo of your kids’ lemonade stand. I’d love to hear about them!

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Parts of Lake Rd., Rt. 104 will be closed for construction soon

3 Jul

CaptureIt’s not really summer until road construction begins.

July 8 is going to throw us a real doozy. The east-bound access ramp from Rt. 104 in Irondequoit to Webster will be closed beginning July 8 for about a month.

As it stands, the flyover ramp leading eastbound motorists from Route 104 in Irondequoit to the Irondequoit Bay Bridge will be closed for about a month so that workers can complete deck repairs and joint replacement.

The Bay Bridge itself will not be closed, and westbound traffic won’t be affected. Drivers will be detoured south on 590 to Empire Blvd., then back north. You can read more about that headache, and see a map in this D&C article.

That same day, a portion of Lake Rd. will be closed between Pellett Rd. and Whiting Rd. for culvert replacement. Detours will be posted directing drivers to Whiting Rd., Klem Rd. and Bay Rd. Read more about that on the Town of Webster website. That one, at least, will only be for a few weeks.

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Webster native & GRAMMY winner Kate Lee will play at Eastman

2 Jul

Kate Lee & Forrest O'Connor at Kilbourn Hall Info

Americana duo Kate Lee and Forrest O’Connor of the GRAMMY Award-Winning Mark O’Connor Band will be performing a show at Eastman Theatre’s Kilbourn Hall on July 10.

Kate is a Webster Schroeder High School alumna (class of  ’10) and one of the best fiddlers I have ever met. She attended Schroeder with my son, and they occasionally played together at musical events. She was an amazing talent those many years ago and has only gotten better.

Over the last three years, she and Forrest have earned national recognition as the lead singers and primary songwriters of the Mark O’Connor Band, which features O’Connor’s father, seven-time CMA Award-winning violinist Mark O’Connor. Lee and O’Connor wrote the majority of the band’s first album, Coming Home, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Bluegrass Albums Chart and won a GRAMMY Award in 2017. The group spent the past summer opening for the Zac Brown Band, including two appearances at Fenway Park.

Lee (vocals, violin) and O’Connor (vocals, guitar, and mandolin) began performing together in 2014 under the name Wisewater, whose EP, The Demonstration, reached #13 on the iTunes Singer-Songwriter chart.

O’Connor is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard and former Tennessee State Mandolin Champion, while Lee is a Belmont graduate and violinist who has frequently backed up stars ranging from John Legend and Kelly Clarkson to Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood at the CMA Awards shows.

For their upcoming show at Kilbourn Hall, Lee and O’Connor will be accompanied by Eastman School of Music graduate Geoff Saunders on bass, who has performed with Chick Corea, Gloria Estefan, and Bobby McFerrin, among others. They will also be joined by two-time national mandolin champion Isaac Eicher and Americana-Country vocalist Mallory Eagle.

The show is a double-bill with singer-songwriter Chris Wilson and begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased through eastmantheatre.org or by calling (585) 274-3000.

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An inside look at the emergency drill

28 Jun

 

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Drill participants were all required to wear a yellow piece of tape on their shoes to prove they belonged in the hot zone.

Yesterday definitely ranks among the top 10 most interesting days of my entire life.

As (I hope) you know, on Thursday, the Webster Central School District (WCSD), in partnership with several local emergency responding agencies, staged a large-scale “aggressively deadly behavior/active shooter” drill at Schlegel Rd. Elementary School. I was fortunate to be invited to participate in that drill.

“Fortunate” might not be a word you’d expect me to use, but that’s kind of how I felt. It was a fascinating experience to be on the inside for one of these drills, and see first-hand the professionalism and tactical skill exhibited by our area police, fire and EMT departments.

For four hours yesterday morning, Schlegel Elementary became Webster High School. A female student, upset that she would not be allowed to graduate, came back to visit the school and took out her frustrations with a gun (which was fake). (The student was played by a law enforcement officer from outside the district.)

When the “shooting” began, the office secretaries immediately tripped the lock-down alarm. Several people were in the halls, and some of them did not survive. Others were just injured. About 60 other “teachers” and “students” were divided among three classrooms spread around the school, safely locked inside their rooms as soon as the alarm was sounded. Still, the shooter was able to tally 13 “victims” before she was overpowered.

It didn’t take long for police officers to subdue her. The classroom I was huddled in was toward the back of the building, so we weren’t really able to hear much in the way of gunshots or screaming, but we could hear officers’ voices outside the door. It seemed less than 20 minutes before they were in control of the scene and they began to clear all the other classrooms to secure our side of the building.

We knew it was a drill, of course. But it seemed real enough when two officers came into our room, (fake) guns raised, told us to put up our hands and escorted us single file to the library. We walked by one bloodied victim still lying in the hallway, and were seated together not far from several other victims with varying degrees of injuries.

Whoever did the makeup, by the way, was pretty masterful. The gunshot wounds were quite convincing. And the staff members who portrayed those victims who were injured but still conscious did a great job of whining, moaning and groaning as they waited for transport to ambulances.

I’m sure you get the sense by now that this was an extremely ambitious event, and it took more than a year to organize. More than 100 WCSD staff members, high school students, student summer maintenance workers and community members participated, acting out a dozen different roles. Five area fire departments alone responded, in addition to the Webster Police Department, Webster Emergency Medical Service, Northeast Quadrant Advanced Life Support, and even the New York State Police. Coordinating such a large response, and making sure all those agencies could communicate with each other was the main purpose of the drill. 

As it turned out, that also proved to be the biggest challenge. Thanks in part to communication issues, things got started a little late, and there were a few re-boots when the scenario had to be re-set. So things didn’t go completely according to plan, but that was to be expected, especially considering the scope of the event and its being the first of its kind in the district.

Despite the hiccups, Brian Zimmer, Webster’s Director of Technology and one of the organizers, said he was “extremely ecstatic” about how well the drill went. “To bring all these agencies together was just a huge win for us,” he added.

“During the drill today we really focused on our communication and our response to a large scale incident,” Zimmer said. “We had a lot of great takeaways from it, we have a lot of good working points and learning points and we’re excited to continue to move forward to make our agency and community even stronger.”

In the follow-up press conference, Webster superintendent Carm Gumina reiterated the significance of the day’s event.

“These drills are important not only for our first responders,” he said, “but also really important for the district to understand our role and all the steps and procedures that we would need to follow in case of an emergency in any one of our 11 buildings.”

I couldn’t agree more.

It’s a sad state of affairs these days that, statistically speaking, a school is much more likely to experience a mass shooting than a fire. We run drills for both, but the shooting possibility is much more frightening.

As a Webster school district staff member, I was comforted to see up-close-and-personally how our staff and students will be kept safe if that were to happen. Glitches or not, district personnel, emergency personnel, officers, firefighters all performed admirably and I left for home that afternoon confident that we were ready.

The district hopes to do another drill in a few years, in a different building with a different scenario. If and when they do, I hope to participate, partly because it’s a unique experience, but also because I like knowing that my small role may someday help keep our schools secure.

WHAM-TV Channel 13 was there for the post-event press conference. Click here to see their story.

 

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The post-event press conference with school district and emergency responding agency representatives.  

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Three upcoming opportunities to donate blood

27 Jun

blood dropBlood donations tend to drop off precipitously in the summer as people start taking vacations or decide they’d rather hang by the pool. But the need for blood does not. That’s why it’s especially important to try to make one of these drives coming up in the next few days:

Tomorrow, June 28, there are two drives not far from us here in Webster.

  • One is at St. Ambrose Academy of Peace of Christ Parish, 31 Empire Blvd. (across the street from Donuts Delite) from 2 to 7 p.m.
  • A second one tomorrow is at the Penfield Community Center, 1985 Baird Rd., from 2 to 7 p.m.
  • On Monday July 1, there’s one even closer to home, at the American Legion, 818 Ridge Rd. in Webster, from 1 to 6 p.m.

You can make an appointment by calling 1-800-RED CROSS, or just walk in. They’d love to see you either way.

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Please help spread the word: It’s ONLY A DRILL

25 Jun

The following is a re-posting of the blog I wrote last week about a MASS CASUALTY fire truckDRILL planned for THURSDAY which you’ll want to know about if you live or work or drive anywhere near northeast Webster.

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On Thursday June 27, Town of Webster emergency response agencies in conjunction with the Webster Central School District will be running a large-scale emergency drill at Schlegel Rd. Elementary School.

What that means is that beginning sometime between 8 and 8:30 a.m. you’re going to be hearing all kinds of sirens and see lots of fire trucks, police cars and ambulances descending on the school.

Don’t worry. It’s only a drill. School will be out for the summer, and while there will be students and adults there, they will be acting out pre-determined roles to simulate an actual emergency.

During the drill, Webster CSD, Webster Police Department, Webster Volunteer Fire Department, West Webster Volunteer Fire Department, Webster Emergency Medical Service, and Northeast Quadrant Advanced Life will simulate and respond to a large-scale school incident to test these agencies’ coordinated response. Several other area fire departments and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department will also be involved, and the New York State Police will be on hand to provide support.

Schlegel Rd. will be closed and Special Police will be diverting traffic from 7:30 a.m. to noon to assure the safety of the actors and emergency responders. Local resident access will be allowed.

Please help spread the word to friends and neighbors.

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Trying to stem the tide

21 Jun

IMG_8010 (1)

A quick shout-out this morning to some unsung heroes.

My friend Jim Lockwood sent me this photo a few days ago of several members of the New York National Guard unit from Queens, helping out at the lakefront. He wrote,

I watched these young National Guard soldiers sandbagging along the shore of Shipbuilder’s Creek lake outlet ( Forest Lawn) this morning. The sandbags really get heavy! The work is hard and the morning sun was getting warm. These young and some not so young troopers eagerly continued with today’s mission to shore up creek to prevent further flooding. I did chat with them for a minute, they are glad to be here and able to help.

These fellow were among many others helping out Wednesday. Thank you for all you’re doing!

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Webster will run mass casualty drill next week

20 Jun
fire truck

(Photo: S. Rosenberry)

If you live, or work, or even find yourself driving around the northeast corner of town with any regularity, please pull out your calendar right now and make a note about this important event.

On Thursday June 27, Town of Webster emergency response agencies in conjunction with the Webster Central School District will be running a large-scale emergency drill at Schlegel Rd. Elementary School.

What that means is that beginning at around 7:30 a.m., you’re going to be hearing all kinds of sirens and see lots of fire trucks, police cars and ambulances descending on the school.

Don’t worry. It’s only a drill. School will be out for the summer, and while there will be students and adults there, they will be acting out pre-determined roles to simulate an actual emergency.

During the drill, Webster CSD, Webster Police Department, Webster Volunteer Fire Department, West Webster Volunteer Fire Department, Webster Emergency Medical Service, and Northeast Quadrant Advanced Life will simulate and respond to a large-scale school incident to test these agencies’ coordinated response.

Schlegel Rd. will be closed and Special Police will be diverting traffic from 7:30 a.m. to noon to assure the safety of the actors and emergency responders. Local resident access will be allowed.

Please help spread the word to friends and neighbors.

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Summer events really get going this weekend

19 Jun
joe obbie

You’ll find farm-fresh produce at the Joe Obbie Farmers’ Market (photo courtesy the market’s Facebook page)

The Town and Village of Webster’s summer events calendar really starts this weekend, with the beginning of the Friday night concert in the park series, the Summer Celebration and the third week of the Joe Obbie Farmers’ Market.

Now the details:

The Village of Webster’s Friday Night Concert series begins this Friday June 21 at 7 p.m., when Steve Bartolotta takes to the gazebo stage in Veterans Memorial Park on North Ave.  Bring a blanket, quad chairs, and a cooler, and enjoy some music, absolutely free.

These weekly concerts run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. through the summer, except when events like the Jazz Fest and Firemen’s Carnival get in the way. The rest of the schedule looks like this:

  • June 28: The Thigh Masters, a Rochester-based party band offering a high-energy mix of classic, alternative and dance.
  • July 26: Gallows Road, classic soft rock
  • August 2: the 22-piece Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, playing big band tunes
  • August 9: The Germano Bros., an acoustic blend of classic rock, soft rock and blues songs.
  • August 16: Burnt Cane

The Tuesday evening Movies in the Park series begins July 9, and the always great Webster Jazz Fest will return on July 19 and 20. Stay tuned for more information about both of those. You can also keep up to date by visiting websterbid.com.

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summer celebrationThe Town of Webster’s annual Summer Celebration takes place this year this Saturday June 22 at Webster Parks and Recreation, 1350 Chiyoda Drive.

This family-friendly event kind of serves as our town’s Fourth of July celebration, including fireworks. It begins at 4 p.m. and features live music from Brass Taxi and State Line, food trucks, games, crafts, inflatables and more. The fireworks will begin at about 9:45 p.m.

For more information, click here.

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The Joe Obbie Farmers’ Market is up and running for the 2019 summer season. You’ll find it every Saturday through the fall at Webster Towne Center (Target/Kohl’s Plaza), featuring locally grown fresh produce, baked goods, jams and jellies, honey, maple syrup, fresh meats, plants, spices and crafts.

Special events this year include live music, balloon fun with Mr. Wally, the Christmas in July celebration on July 20 (Santa will be there), and more.

I’ll be highlighting several of these special events as they draw near, so stay tuned.

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One last tasty event to add:

St Martin Lutheran Church is holding a Pulled Pork Drive Thru BBQ on Saturday, June 22  from 4:30 until gone at the church on 813 Bay Road, Webster.  Pull into the parking lot, place your order, and the dinner will be delivered to you in your car.

The take-out dinner  includes pulled pork, roll, salt potatoes, cole slaw and cookie for $9.00.  Proceeds support the church’s annual Christmas Stocking Project reaching over 500 children and teens in Monroe and Wayne  counties.

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Homeless pups benefit from Eagle Scout project

18 Jun

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Even dogs appreciate a good playground, and thanks to a local Eagle Scout candidate, they have a new one at Pets Stop Here in Spencerport.

Justin Karnisky from Troop 110 in Webster recently completed his Eagle Scout project for the Spencerport-based nonprofit organization Pets Stop Here. Called a Rescue Dog Playground, it’s an agility playground for pups.

Pets Stop Here, Inc. is a volunteer dog rescue organization committed to rescuing domestic companion animals primarily from the Rochester area. Pets Stop Here  provides a safe and secure refuge for abused, unwanted, and neglected animals through foster homes or lodging at The Pup Stop while they await adoption.

Proud mom Karen, who also sent me these photos, reports that

Justin completed the fundraising and design of the project over the past few months, created a miniature model of the playground, and gathered several of his fellow Scouts to complete the assembly. As part of the project he is also doing a supply drive for the organization.

Attached are some pictures of the Scouts and of Justin with Dawn Saunders, who owns Pets Stop Here, Inc.

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