The Rec Center brings you music and mud this week

11 Sep

The Webster Parks and Recreation Center has got a couple of fun and entertaining events coming up this week.

The first is the Rec Center’s next Music in the Park concert at the gazebo at the Arboretum, 1700 Schlegel Rd. This week’s concert will be presented by Doctor’s Orders, featuring my good friends Dave and Patty Wyble.

Doctor’s Orders is an acoustic folk and pop duo playing a variety of songs from the Beatles to John Prine, and pretty much everything in between. They’re a delightful duo which everyone will enjoy.

The concert will be held Thursday Sept. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Arboretum. It’s free and open to the public. Bring a chair or a blanket, fill a cooler with dinner and drinks, and enjoy a pleasant evening of music.

Click here to find out more about Doctor’s Orders.

Then, don’t forget that this Saturday Sept. 17 is the second annual Webster Recreation Center Mud Run.

The Mud Run is a a non-competitive, untimed, one-mile run/walk along the Recreation Center’s obstacle course/fitness trail which loops around the back of the facility. Some of the run will be through water and mud, and there will be some challenging obstacles. What’s really neat about it is that kids and their adults can do it together. It’s only $5 per person, and the organizers promise that there’ll be swag, fun and food.

Click here to register. You can sign up for any 15-minute wave between 10 a.m. and noon. The Webster Recreation Center is located at 1350 Chiyoda Drive, off of Phillips Rd.

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(posted 9/11/2022)

A new business is moving into the village: My Roommates Closet

10 Sep

You know how sometimes you search the stores forever looking for that perfect outfit for your big night on the town, and you finally find it in your friend’s closet? That’s the thinking behind the Village of Webster’s newest shop, My Roommates Closet, opening in October at 19 East Main St.

The new clothing store, located in the former Village HandWorks storefront, is owned by 23-year old Nicole Iorio, a recent St. John Fisher graduate with a degree in business marketing. A self-described shopaholic, Nicole’s vision is to share her love of clothing and fashion with women of all ages, help them discover new and different styles to add to their closets and to find that “missing piece” they’ve been looking for.

Her plan is to offer a mixture of styles, from street wear to lounging-around clothes to going-out clothes, much like what you’d find in, well, your roommate’s closet. But more than anything else, Nicole wants the women who wear her clothes to feel confident and comfortable at all times.

At just 23 years old, this is Nicole’s first experience at opening a storefront, but not her first experience in running a successful business. She actually created My Roommates Closet a little over a year ago as an online store, which she’s also taken on the road to several flea markets. Even from the beginning of that venture, she knew she wanted to eventually combine her marketing degree with her love of fashion and open a brick-and-mortar shop. But no way did she expect it to happen so soon.

It was actually a haircut that put things into motion.

“I get my hair done right next door at Main Street Beauty Lounge,” Nicole remembered. “I was sitting there back in May, and I saw that 19 East Main St. opened up. I was thinking about moving my business into a store, but not this soon. I was going to wait a bit, but the place opened up and this area is so cute.”

“When I saw that location, I thought yeah, I think I want to do this.” So she got in touch with the landlord, took a look at the space, and just three months later had signed the lease.  

Nicole hopes to open her new shop sometime in October, but there’s still a lot to do. Newly-painted ceiling tiles have to be reinstalled, lights have to be swapped out, changing rooms built, walls painted and floors redone. She’s discovering that opening a new business is a complicated endeavor, involving a hundred little unforseen details from getting on Google to replacing outlet covers. And on top of all everything else, she’s taking a night class to complete her Master’s degree in Business Marketing.

Fortunately, she’s getting a lot of help and support from her family and friends. “I’m here for it,” she said. “I love it. I love the whole process, It’s very stressful, but I love it.”

My Roommates Closet is located at 19 East Main St. in the Village of Webster. It doesn’t look like much yet, but stay tuned for updates. In the meantime, you can check out the shop online. You’ll find My Roommates Closet here on the website, and also on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Pinterest.

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(posted 9/9/2022)

The Village Quilt Shoppe is celebrating their 3rd anniversary!

9 Sep

I know, right?

It sure hasn’t seemed like it’s been three years since Vanetta Parshall and Monique Liberti opened their cute, friendly little Village Quilt Shoppe at the corner of East Main and Lapham Park in the village. It might seem like that to them, though, since it wasn’t always smooth sailing.

Just three months after they opened their doors in August 2019, and just days before the Village of Webster’s White Christmas celebration, disaster struck when a water leak from the apartment above the shop came through the floor and destoyed much of their merchandise. They had to close for almost a month to regroup and restock. But, determined not to lose their dream shop, they persevered and survived that early setback.

Then COVID struck, and they had to close again for three more months.

Somehow (well, we know how: loyal customers), the little business navigated a global pandemic and came back stronger than ever.

So this week they’ve been celebrating their last three somewhat difficult years and their bright future, by offering special sales on fabric, a By Annie trunk show, and gifts and cake for everyone who walks in the store on Saturday Sept. 10.

The trunk show has a waiting list right now, but all of the By Annie products will be in the shop for the rest of the month, so you can still check them out.

Make sure to check out the Webster Quilt Shoppe website for all of the latest news and class schedules. And be sure to stop in this Saturday Sept. 10 to congratulate Monique and Vanetta on their third anniversary.

The Village Quilt Shoppe is located at 21 E. Main St. in the Village of Webster. They’ll be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Check out some of these then-and-now photos. I took the first ones in August, 2019. The last three are from this week, three years later.

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(posted 9/9/2022)

The Ukraine still needs our help

8 Sep

As always, the town’s Webster This Week newsletter, published online every week, was a wealth of information. I’m often grabbing mailbag notices from there or finding out about something important that I hadn’t seen anywhere else. (Kudos to Karen Buck for doing an outstanding job with the newsletter every week!)

This week’s newsletter was no different. It featured, across three pages, a reminder that the crisis in the Ukraine continues, and the people there still need our help desperately.

Specifically, RocMaidan, who has taken the lead in collecting and shipping supplies to the war-torn country, is looking for medical supplies, clothing, sleeping bags, diapers and wipes, small toys, water bottles, and more.

Rather than just regurgitate everything that was in those pages, I’ve posted them below. Please take a moment to click through to each of them and see where you might be able to help out.

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(posted 9/7/2022)

First week of school, retirement style

7 Sep

Anybody who knows me — even just a little bit — knows that I’m having a hard time retiring.

After leaving the school district in June 2021, I decided I would sub for one, maybe two days a week. That turned into three or four some weeks, pretty much all year long. It’s gotten so people don’t ask me how I’m keeping busy, but, “So how much are you going to work THIS year?”

So it should be no surprise that just two days into the new school year, I had to stop by to visit the two schools where I spent the last five years of my teaching assistant career, Plank North and Schlegel Rd. elementary schools. I told myself that I wanted to meet the new librarian at Plank North and the new library teaching assistant at Schlegel Rd.

But we all know the REAL reason I made those visits.

I really wanted to see all those smiling, happy little faces again, walking through the halls with that first-week-of-school bounce in their steps.

It was especialy touching to see many of those happy little faces wave excitedly and call out my name as they walked past. It really reminded me how much I loved being there.

But not putting my feet on the floor until 7:30 every morning? I gotta say … I love that more.

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(posted 9/7/2022)

Webster community mailbag

6 Sep

Get out your calendar, ’cause this mailbag is a packed one.

The annual Webster ROCKS Music Festival is back in town this weekend.

The festival is held to raise awareness for ALS in memory of Kacie Jones. Proceeds will benefit organizations that fight to change the standard of case and empower people with ALS. (Visit or for more information.)

The festival will be held on Saturday Sept. 10 at the Webster Firemen’s Field on Ridge Rd. There’ll be food trucks and plenty of liquid refreshment. Doors open at 2 p.m. and an incredible music line-up starts at 3 p.m., featuring State Line, Brass Taxi, Jumbo Shrimp, Judah and M80s. (Check the Facebook event page for more details about the schedule.)

Tickets are $20 in advance (available from the Coach Sports Bar, 19 W. Main in Webster) and at Eventbrite (but they charge fees, so stop by the Coach to save money). Cost is $25 the day of the festival. Admission is free for ages 12 and under.

The Village of Webster would like YOUR opinions on how the village can be improved.

The Webster Economic Development Alliance, in conjunction with the Webster Business Improvement District, is competing for a $4.5 million grant from the NY Forward community revitalization program. As part of the competition process, Webster must submit an application on how we intend to spend $4.5 million in our community.

So the coalition is asking for community input. They’ve put together a quick, 5-minute survey, hoping to gather thoughts about things like

• your vision for the downtown area
• where you’d like to see the money invested
• how projects should be prioritized

But if you’d like to present your ideas in person, stop in to the Main Street Revitalization Open House on Tuesday Sept. 13 in the Village Board Room, 29 South Ave. Representatives will be there from 6 to 8 p.m. to hear what you think!

Get your German on at the Challenger Miracle Field Oktoberfest, Friday and Saturday Sept. 16 and 17, also at Webster Firemen’s Field.

This two-day event will feature entertainment from the Auslanders, the Adlers Band, the Frankfurters, and yodeler Richard Brandt, who comes straight from Germany. Swan’s Market and Helmut’s Strudel of WNY will be serving up some authentic German food, along with Nancy’s Fried Dough and beer and wine from Cobblestone on Main.

The event will run from noon to 10 p.m. each day. Admission is $9, free for children 12 and under. Proceeds will benefit Challenger Miracle Field of Greater Rochester.

The next St. Martin Lutheran Church’s Drive Thru Chicken BBQ will be held Saturday, Sept. 17 beginning at 4:30 p.m. at the church, 813 Bay Road, Webster.

Dinners of a half chicken, salt potatoes, coleslaw, roll, and butter are available for $12.00 – cash or check only. The event is drive-through only, and there will be no advance sales.

Dinners will be served first come/first served. Cars will enter the parking lot, follow signs, and purchase dinners using exact payment. Cars will then proceed to the side entrance to pick up boxed dinners.

Proceeds will St. Martin’s Christmas Stocking Project reaching over 500 local youth in Monroe and Wayne counties.

Here’s a preview of a pile of Webster Rec programs that you and your family are going to love:

  • Saturday Sept. 17: Family Mud Run, from 10 a.m. to noon, a non-competitive run/walk through mud and obstacles, concluding with snacks and swag. Much fun guaranteed for all ages. Cost is $5 per person, which includes lunch. Registration is required. (Program #301202)
  • Saturday Oct. 29: The ever-popular Pumpkins on Parade returns from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Drop off a carved pumpkin and then come back to walk the trail of illuminated Jack-o-lanterns. Free cider and donuts at the end. No charge.
  • Friday Nov. 18: Pajama Party, from 6 to 8 p.m. Dress in your favorite jammies and come hang out for a night of games, music, dancing and more. Bring a blanket and a pillow and get ready for the weekend. No charge.
  • Saturday Dec. 10: An Evening with Santa, 6 to 8 p.m. Get your picture taken with Mr. Claus himself, enjoy a sweet treat and make a holiday craft. No charge.

More information to come about all of these family-friendly events.

Finally, this isn’t an event, but an FYI.

For a long time now, there’s been an pharmaceutical drop-box location at the Webster Police Department, a convenient place to dispose of unused or expired prescriptions, instead of flushing them down the drain.

The remote drop box was supported by CVS Pharmacies, but the conmpany has discontinued that support.

So as of Sept. 1, there’s no longer a drop box at the Police Department. However, the CVS store at 935 Ridge Rd. will have an in-store collection bin. So please, keep being good citizens and continue to dispose of your expired medications properly.

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(posted 9/6/2022)

History Bit: Rules for teachers, circa 1872

4 Sep

So I got a new job recently.

Beginning this month, I’ve taken over the job of writing the monthly “Bit of Webster History,” a short feature produced by the Webster Museum highlighting interesting historical tidbits from around our town.

For the last six years, these “Bits” have been researched and written by Webster Museum volunteer Kathy Taddeo. She’s a great writer and I always enjoyed seeing what gems she came up with every month. Needless to say, I have some big shoes to fill.

Here’s my first stab at it:

A Bit of Webster History — Rules for Teachers

In honor of the first week of school and our hard-working teachers, this month’s History Bit takes us back to a time when school was held for all grades in one room heated by a wood stove, writing was done on slates, and the drinking fountain was a metal pail and cup. 

The first school recorded within the township of Webster was a log cabin at the corner of Salt and State roads in 1813. In those days the school year was typically divided into summer and winter terms. Usually a woman would teach girls and young children in the summer, and a man would teach the older boys in the winter after they were released from farm work. 

It was a tough job with some pretty strict rules – and not just with regards to classroom management. Consider this list of Rules for Teachers from 1872:  

  1. Teachers each day will fill lamps, clean chimneys
  2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day’s session
  3. Make your pens carefully. You may whittle nibs to the individual taste of the pupils. 
  4. Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly. 
  5. After ten hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books. 
  6. Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed. 
  7. Every teacher should lay aside from his pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society. 
  8. Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty.
  9. The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of 25 cents per week in his pay, providing the Board of Education approves. 

See the list for yourself at the Webster Museum, where it’s posted just outside the museum’s classroom, which emulates how an actual one-room schoolhouse might have looked in the early 1900s.

The museum, located at 18 Lapham Park, is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Visit the website for more historical tidbits about our town’s schools and teachers.

(P.S. The photo above pictures one of the district’s earliest schools, the District No. 7 school on Schlegel Rd., circa 1846.)

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(posted 9/4/2022)

What does the PTSA actually DO, anyway?

3 Sep

I was chatting with a friend recently. She admitted that some time ago, the only things she knew about the PTSA was from watching Saved by the Bell and the movie Bad Moms, which pretty much depicted the organization as a cutthroat, no-holds-barred, Survivor-like clique.

In reality, of course, the Webster Central PTSA is nothing like that.

For starters, unlike in Bad Moms, the PTSA’s focus is not on the parents who run and volunteer for events; it’s squarely on the students, and the teachers and staff members who work so hard to support them.

PTSA parents help organize after-school clubs and school-wide activities like festivals and dances; they coordinate in-school events and class pictures, create the school yearbook and purchase school supplies. But PTSA members also have their fingers in dozens of other activities behind the scenes, supporting classroom teachers and administrators with their day-to-day responsibilities.

Those roles are pretty obvious to everyone, but the goals of our Webster Central PTSA go well beyond that, and provide more intangible benefits as well. For example, this year watch for a lot of new events encouraging not just student involvement, but also student leadership. The PTSA recognizes that today’s students are tomorrow’s future leaders, so we need to them to know that they have a voice, they have opinions, they have opportunities.

The Webster Central PTSA is also laser-focused this year on building a stronger school/community connection, which they’ll accomplish through supporting community events and collaborating with organizations and agencies that benefit Webster as a whole. Our schools have always been a One Webster community; the PTSA wants to make sure that everyone in the Town of Webster knows they’re an integral part of that community as well, whether they have children in the schools or not.

These are ambitious goals which will require many dedicated volunteers. But these efforts also need to be funded, and that’s where everybody can help out.

This year’s PTSA membership drive is in full swing. You can help support all of the PTSA’s ambitious goals by becoming a member. It costs just $10 for adults and $5 for students, and there’s no volunteering or meetings required.

Plus, members enjoy discounts all year at Nourished, Buffalo Wild Wings, The Waffle Factory, Color Me Mine, DQ Gill & Chill, Lala and Whimsies, Yolickity and more.

For more information and an on-line link to join, click here.

So, to answer that question I posed in the headline, our school PTSAs are more than book fairs and bake sales. They provide a vital link between school, students, families and the greater Webster community. They deserve — and need — our support.

That friend, by the way, who used to know so little about what the PTSA does? That was Jaime Richey, who is now the Webster Central PTSA co-president. The more she learned, the more she wanted to get involved. And now she hopes you will, too.

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(posted 9/3/2022)

Photos from the Bridgerton Ball

31 Aug

I wanted to post a quick follow-up from last weekend’s Bridgerton Ball, hosted by the Country Dancers of Rochester at the Harmony House.

The ball attracted fans of English country dances in the style of the popular Bridgerton TV mini-series. The music was delightful, the costumes were beautiful, and the dancing was divine. There was a nice turnout, especially given this was a first-time event.

Ball organizer Lisa Brown of the Country Dancers of Rochester especially enjoyed the venue.

“Harmony House is a great resource for the Webster community,” she said. “It’s a wonderful venue for a dance event because it has a large ballroom with a wooden floor and air conditioning. We loved having our Bridgerton Ball there.”

Some RIT students who heard about the event attended and took some beautiful photos, several of which I’d like to share with you today.

If these photos pique your interest and you’d like to learn how to do this kind of dancing, you’re invited to join the Country Dancers of Rochester for their regular Sunday gatherings. They meet Sunday evenings at 6:30 p.m. in Brighton at the First Baptist Church, 175 Allens Creek Rd. Beginners are welcome, dancers wear modern clothing and no partner is necessary. Cost is $10.

Here are several other photos from the evening, taken by Evie Linantud:

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(posted 8/31/2022)

Dancing With Denise’s “Happy Feet Dance Crew” spreads joy to nursing homes

30 Aug

Denise Baller of Dancing With Denise has found a charming way to introduce kids to the joy of dancing, while at the same time helping their community.

Denise calls the program “Happy Feet.” It originated several years ago when Denise’s mother, “Miss Tina,” was living at Atria assisted living facility in Penfield. Denise wanted to give the residents a fun and entertaining intergenerational activity, so one evening she invited some of her students to meet at the facility for a “date night” with the residents. The evening was a great success, and the Happy Feet Dance Crew was born.

Since that first outing, “Miss Denise” has taken her students out once a month to visit different local facilities and dance. At the end of the night, the children always share a sweet treat with the residents. In 2019, the Happy Feet Crew grew into an annual summer dance camp, with the students traveling to a different location every morning.

Some of the places the Dance Crew has visited include Webster Comfort Care, where they also spent some time weeding the gardens, and Creekstone Memory Care. They also took a tour of Heritage Christian Stables, where the children cleaned riding equipment, groomed the miniature horses and even cleaned the pasture.

Connecting with the community is Denise’s way of teaching her students how they, and their dancing, can spread love and joy, while learning valuable life lessons. She said,

It’s important to share with the children that life is not perfect and sometimes the jobs we undertake are not things that we love to do. But if you can push through and get to the other side, it makes your heart happy, you become a better person, and most importantly you spread love and joy to make others happy.

If you’d like to meet Denise, learn more about Dancing With Denise and try out a class, stop by her open house on Wednesday Aug. 31 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the studio, 1077 Gravel Rd. Click here for more information.

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(posted 8/30/2022)