Churches collaborate to feed our community

24 May

Most of us don’t realize it as we go through our daily lives, but there are a lot of adults and children in Webster who often don’t know where their next meal is coming from. A coalition of Webster churches and community agencies has come together to address that problem. Their goal is to create a community dinner calendar, a schedule where free dinners will be available at least once a week at alternating churches.

The collaboration is being spearheaded by Wendy McVeigh, Director of Family Ministries at Webster Methodist Church. She explained,

A year ago I was given the opportunity to assist a family who had recently been evicted from an apartment near our church location.  During that process, I was made aware of the increased (and often hidden) need in our community for food and housing.  I brought my concerns first to my home church, and then to other Webster churches.  I was aware that Webster Assembly of God Church had been hosting a monthly Community Dinner. I visited their dinner as well as others located outside of Webster. We then decided to host a dinner ministry at Webster Methodist and asked other churches to join the effort. …

When people are facing food insecurity, their neighbors are often also facing the same or similar challenges. It can be difficult to ask a friend or neighbor for help or advice since they may also be in need of the same type of assistance. A benefit of a Community Dinner is that all persons from our Webster Community are invited to attend. This helps to better integrate and connect our community, which can only serve to make Webster stronger. …  We hope that Webster can become known as a town where neighbors are connected and cared for.

The group has already held two meetings, which have included representatives from a dozen churches and Christian organizations including Webster Methodist, Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Webster Baptist Church, United Church of Christ, Webster Christian Reformed Church, Webster Presbyterian, Blessed Hope, Immanuel Lutheran, New Life United Methodist Church, Heritage Christian Services, Webster Community Chest and Webster HOPE.

So far, four churches have committed to offering monthly dinners:

  • Webster Baptist Church, 59 South Ave., first Monday of the month at 5:30 p.m. Call (585) 265-9480 for information.
  • United Church of Christ, 570 Klem Road, second Sunday of the month at 4:30 p.m.. Call (585) 671-3757 for information.
  • Webster Methodist Church, 169 E. Main Street, third Saturday of the month at 4:30. Call (585) 309-6510 for details.
  • Webster Assembly of God, 708 Hard Road. Usually the last week of the month, but not always. Call or email for details: (585) 671-2423 or

Others are interested in hosting dinners, including St. Rita, and McVeigh hopes that ultimately there will be at least two free community dinners offered every week. Most of the dinners include children’s activities, music, and special speakers or guests. They’re intended to be family-friendly, with a restaurant-quality meal and atmosphere.  

Usually, leftovers are packed up at the end of the dinner to send home with families. So, McVeigh said, “Theoretically, if we’re offering dinner twice a week and sending leftovers home, we can feed families or elderly people every night of the week.”

McVeigh hopes the dinner program will continue to grow. Even if other churches don’t have the resources to provide a full meal, they could consider participating in other ways like hosting free food pantries (as several already do), or offering other events like coffee hours — basically, any opportunity for people to come together in friendship and form meaningful relationships.

For more information about the program or to find out how you can help, email Wendy McVeigh at

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(posted 5/24/2023)

Poetry Trail planned for the Webster Arboretum

23 May

Two of my favorite things are coming together in a beautiful way next summer: poetry and the Webster Arboretum.

The Board of Directors of the Webster Arboretum has announced a new project to create a Poetry Trail winding through the grounds. Ron Friedman, a local resident and poet, presented the idea at the board’s April meeting, where it was enthusiastically embraced.

While the project is still very early in the planning stages, many exciting ideas are already being proposed. For example, poets or all ages from throughout the Finger Lakes would be invited, including students from elementary schools through college, and members of poetry and arts groups. Another idea is to make sure the poetry represents many cultures, peoples and languages, including ASL poetry.  

Friedman wrote,

The vision now includes signage installed around the trails in the arboretum with poems printed or engraved on wood, concrete, or other varied materials that can withstand Rochester weather year round. QR codes may be included so visitors will be able to access the poets reading their own poems. The signage may appear by the tree peonies, the gazebo and twisted white pine, around the pond, near the magnolias, the lace barks, the dogwoods, at the entrances to the foot bridges as well as back along the wood trails.

Friedman sees the project as an ongoing effort spanning years, as the trail can be expanded within the Arboretum and to other Webster parks as well.   

It will be a year before the Poetry Trail is completed. For now, committees are being formed to work on fundraising, creating poetry submission guidelines, publicity and installation. For more information about how you can help out and be a part of this exciting new project, email Ron Friedman at

The Webster Arboretum at Kent Park is located at 1700 Schlegel Rd. It’s open seven days a week, sunrise to dusk, and has several beautiful, easy-to-stroll trails. Click here to learn more. (Thank you to Ron Friedman for the photos below.)

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(posted 5/23/2023)

Luminary Walk honored the class of 2023

22 May

Thousands of Webster high school students, their families and friends enjoyed spectacular weather Sunday night at the Senior Luminary Walk, held at the Webster Recreation Center.

This annual event, sponsored by the Webster Thomas PTSA, Webster Schroeder PTSA and Webster Teachers’ Association (WTA), celebrates our graduating seniors with hundreds of luminary candle bags, placed along the entire length of the Chiyoda Trail, which almost completely encircles the Recreation Center property on Chiyoda Drive. Earlier in the day, 30 volunteers worked for an hour and a half to distribute about 900 of the twinkling bags, each one labeled with the name of a graduating Webster Thomas, Webster Schroeder or GOAL student.

At the beginning of the trail, students and their family members were greeted by the Webster Schroeder and Thomas mascots (available for photo ops) before they strolled along the almost mile-long trail. Enthusiastic teachers were stationed all along the path, cheering and congratulating the students as they passed. One family after another would pause periodically for photos, and sometimes the parents’ proud smiles were even bigger than the students’.

As the students returned to the Rec Center at the end of the walk, each was handed a lawn sign to display at their home — prompting even more proud-parent photos.

Anyone who attended after dusk got an extra special treat, as the entire trail was lined with white twinkly lights leading the way.

This is the third year the PTSAs and WTA have held the Senior Luminary Walk. It began back in 2021, when we were still hip-deep in the pandemic, and special events were being cancelled one after the other. The organizations wanted to do SOMETHING to make sure our seniors felt special and celebrated for their achievements. The Luminary Walk was perfect; a creative, socially-distanced way to honor them.

Back then, organizers expected it to be a one-time event. But it proved to be so successful, it came back by popular demand in 2022, then again this year. And judging from the crowds I saw Sunday night. it’s here to stay.

Many thanks to the teachers, students and parent volunteers who worked for hours Sunday afternoon and evening to place the bags along the path, string the twinkly lights and staff the sign tables, or who were just there to cheer on the students.

And congratulations to all the graduating seniors!

Click here to see more photos from the evening.

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(posted 5/22/2023)

A new trail and great news from the Friends of Webster Trails

21 May

The Friends of Webster Trails have made two exciting announcements recently which I want to share with you today.

The first is that the Friends are introducing a brand new trail, leading into the new Michael A. Johnson Nature Preserve, which was added to Webster open space in 2022. The wooded area is adjacent to the John Ungar Nature Trail, just north of the Hojack Trail between Drumm Rd. and Van Alstyne Rd. The Dombovy family donated funds for the purchase of the land in memory of their late husband and father, Michael A. Johnson.

The new loop trail created by the Friends leads off the Hojack Trail about 1/4 mile east of Drumm Rd.

Community members are invited to help dedicate the new trail, when the Friends of Webster Trails hosts a grand-opening group hike on Saturday morning June 3 at 9 a.m. Meet at the intersection of Drumm Rd. and the Hojack Trail at 9 a.m. From there, the group will hike to the entrance of the new Michael A. Johnson Trail. The total distance will be about 2 miles.

Parking is available at the Gosnell Big Wood parking lot at the intersection of Drumm and Vosburg. From there you can walk down Drumm Rd. to the Hojack Trail entrance on Drumm. Hiking boots or good sneakers are recommended.

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The Friends of Webster Trails also recently announced that the organization has received a $1000 grant from the Rochester Birding Association for their ReTree Project.

The Friends began the ReTree Project last year to address habitat loss, with a particular focus on trees. The project has two objectives:

  • to improve the ecological resiliency of forested habitat within the Webster Open Space area, and
  • to increase public knowledge of the threats to local forest ecology and ways we can collectively mitigate these risks

The project has especially focused on planting native tree species in areas where other native species have previously been lost or are currently under threat. The supplemental plantings will increase overall canopy cover while enriching the mix of tree species, age, and physical structure, resulting in a more robust and resilient ecosystem.

The Friends plan to use the funds to clear areas overgrown with invasive plants and to purchase native trees and shrubs and browse-protection materials in the Whiting Road Nature Preserve.

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(posted 5/21/2023)

It’s time to hit the links for a good cause

20 May

‘Tis the season for golf, apparently, and for those of you who enjoy hitting the links for a good cause, there are several opportunities coming up in the near future to do that. I’d like to tell you about three of them today.

This first one has my favorite name for a golf tournament ever, the RobynPalooza, scheduled for June 16. It’s named after Robyn Whittaker, who first organized this benefit tournament 12 years ago in honor of her 50th birthday. For the last several years the Webster Rotary has been helping out, and the collaboration has had tremendous success raising money for local charities.

Robyn reports that last year was their biggest year ever, netting $17,000. She hopes to top $20,000 this year, but as the date approaches she’s afraid they might fall short. So now’s the time to step up and help out. There’s still plenty of time to pull together your foursome to play, but there are also plenty of opportunities for businesses to sponsor holes and carts, and prizes for achievements like closest to the pin and longest drive.

Sponsorships are just $100, and can be combined with your foursome registration. Registration for players is $480 per foursome, or $125 for individuals. Dinner only will cost $35.

Proceeds from this year’s RobynPalooza will benefit the Webster Library BookBox, Human Kindness Organization, Open Door Mission, Adopt a Platoon, and other causes.

The event is scheduled for Friday June 16 at Morgan’s Crossing Golf Club (Chili Country Club). Registration begins at 11 a.m. with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. For more information about the tournament and how to sign up, click on the image below.

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Next Friday May 26, the Christopher’s Challenge Golf Tournament takes place at Mill Creek Golf Club in Churchville.

Even though the tournament is just around the corner, there’s still time to sign up to play and/or sponsor a golf cart, putting green, driving range or hole. Sponsorships range from $105 to $1,000. Cost to play is $100 for individual golfers, $400 for a foursome. If you’d just like to come for dinner alone, that will cost $35.

Proceeds will benefit Christopher’s Challenge, a not-for-profit organization established in 1998 to educate about bone marrow transplants and draw awareness to become a potential bone marrow donor, as well as financially supporting patients and their families going through bone marrow transplant procedures.

Registration begins at noon with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. To register, click here or call Kathy Costello at (585) 414-5345.

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Have you ever wanted to play Oak Hill? Your chance to do that happens Monday July 24, during the CDS Wolf Foundation’s 36th annual A Salute to Veterans Golf Tournament.

This is one of Rochester’s leading and most respected charitable golf events. Sponsorships range from $7,500 to $50,000. Foursomes can sign up for $7,500 to play the East Course and $5,000 to play the West Course (with discounts applied if paid in full by May 31). Other opportunities include a driving range sign for $2,500, a tee sign for $1,000 and a dinner and concert ticket for $500.

The tournament will begin with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. on the East Course, and at 1:30 with shotgun starts on both the East and West courses. For more information and to register, click here.

Warrior Salute Veterans Services provides a strong, supportive community to help veterans reach their personal therapeutic, social, educational and community goals. The program strives to assist veterans in all aspects of their lives and works to provide them with the tools to live independently and productively in their community.

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(posted 5/20/2023)

The Village of Webster’s first Wine Walk is in two weeks

19 May

The first Village of Webster Wine Walk for 2023 is coming up fast. It’s scheduled for Saturday June 3 from 4 to 7:00 p.m.

This is always a great time to get together with friends and stroll the streets of the Village of Webster, popping into businesses and sampling so. much. wine. Tickets are $15 each (plus Eventbrite’s $2.85 mark-up) and available only online. You’ll need to register ahead of time (click here), then bring your digital ticket (or paper copy) to the BACK entrance of JoJo Bistro beginning at 3:30 p.m. to sign in. You’ll get a bracelet and a wine glass and a map to guide you on your tour. (Pick up your glass before 5:30.) DO NOT FORGET YOUR ID. It is REQUIRED.

Some of the stops will include Barry’s Old School Irish, Brimont Bistro, The Coach Sports Bar, Woodland Silkscreen and Embroidery/OHHH, LORDEE! Sauces, and Finns Automotive. This is a great chance to visit several of the village’s newest businesses as well!

The Wine Walks are brought to you by the Webster Business Improvement District (BID). A portion of the sales will be donated to Webster HOPE, a Social Justice Ministry.

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The Wine Walk is just the first in a whole list of great summer events the BID will be hosting. Here’s what’s in the works:

Right on the heels of the first one, a second Wine Walk will take place on Saturday July 8. Tickets will be available for that soon.

The Friday Night Gazebo Concerts begin July 7 with a performance by the Red Hot and Blue Band featuring Americana music.

Coming up at the gazebo later in the summer:

The Gazebo Concerts are held from 7 to 9 p.m. and are free.

There’s a Family Games Night tentatively scheduled for August 11, but that may change.

The Webster Jazz Fest is scheduled for August 18 and 19, with “Jazz in the Pubs” on Friday from 6 to 10 p.m., and Jazz in the Street” on Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m.

The Webster Fireman’s Field will be hopping in September, with a Fireman’s Field Evening/Coach’s ALS Fundraiser on Sept. 9; the Oktoberfest Sept. 15 to 17; the Zach Brown Tribute Band on Sept. 21; and an all-day cornhole tournament on Sept. 23 (actually, I think this national tournament will run for two weekends, but more info to come about that later).

This year’s Beer Walk is scheduled for Saturday, October 14.

Two brand new events have been added to the calendar this year as well: the Webster Village Bed Race will take over Main Street on Saturday Sept. 16, and a Health Fair is also in the works, but the date for that has not been set.

And of course, watch for blogs about the Trick or Treat Trail in October and Webster’s Winter Wonderland in December.

Whew. I hope you had your calendar out.

More information about all these events, when it becomes available, can be found at

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(posted 5/19/2023)

Memorial Day Parade details

18 May

I’m noticing that people are beginning to search for information about the Village of Webster’s annual Memorial Day Parade, so I thought it would be best to post all the details I know about it sooner rather than later.

Basically, everything will be running as it has in every other (non-COVID) year.

  • 9:00 a.m.:  All groups participating in the parade will assemble at Spry Middle School on Sanford Street. All active duty and ex-service men and women are invited to take part in the parade. Any veterans who would like to ride in the bed of an Army truck are asked to be at Spry by 9 a.m.
  • 9:30 a.m.:  Parade moves out from Spry, down South Avenue, turning west on Main Street and proceeding to Webster Rural Cemetery.
  • 9:50 a.m. (approx.): Parade arrives at Webster Rural Cemetery.
  • The Remembrance Ceremony will begin at approximately 10 a.m., or whenever everyone arrives and gets settled.

This is always a very nice parade, and the ceremony that follows it at Webster Rural Cemetery is always moving. I highly recommend bringing your children to see both the parade and the ceremony, so they might begin to understand the huge debt we owe our servicemen and women.

And don’t forget that after the parade, everyone is invited to lunch at the Cottreall-Warner American Legion Post #942, 818 Ridge Rd. There’ll be hot dogs, ice cream and drinks for everyone.

The parade is organized by the Cottreall-Warner American Legion Post. Click here for a gallery of photos from last year’s parade.

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(posted 5/18/2023)

Webster History Bit: What’s in a name?

17 May

The names are all very familiar to us: Plank Rd., Salt Rd., Basket Rd., Five Mile Line Rd., Shoecraft Rd., Whiting Rd. But what might not be so familiar is exactly how these well-known roadways got their names. 

Plank Rd. is pretty self-explanatory. It used to be covered in wooden planks. But how about the others? Their stories, recounted in Webster Through the Years by Esther Dunn, offer a glimpse into Webster’s history: 

  • Salt Rd. was named after salt springs located nearby.
  • Basket Rd. was originally known as Basket Street because many of the early settlers in the area made baskets out of branches from the willow trees that grew nearby.    
  • Five Mile Line Rd. referred to the distance from Penfield Village to Ridge Rd. 
  • Shoecraft Rd. bears the name of John Shoecraft, an early settler of Penfield who served in both the Revolutionary War and War of 1812.
  • Whiting Rd. was named for John Whiting, a pioneer who settled on the lakeshore near the junction of Lake and Holt roads. You can still see the grand home he built near that intersection, in Webster Park, which we now know as the White House Lodge.

Webster history is all around us, even hidden in the streets on which we drive. Uncover more historical surprises at the Webster Museum, 18 Lapham Park in the Village of Webster. It’s open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Visit the website at to learn more. 

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(posted 5/17/2023)

One talk down, one to go

16 May

Thank you to everyone who was able to make it to my presentation Tuesday morning at the Webster Recreation Center. We had a good crowd, and a nice mix of people, some who were familiar with my blog, others who weren’t. Regardless, I think everyone learned something about me and my blog that they didn’t know before. I’m hoping that at least I didn’t bore anyone.

If you weren’t able to make it Tuesday, there’s still one more chance to hopefully not be bored by my talk. I’ll be presenting the same talk at the Webster Public Library on Thursday June 8 at 6:30 p.m.

There’s no charge, but it would be helpful if you could register so we kind of know how many people to expect. It’s easy to sign up. You can click here to do that.

I look forward to meeting more of my readers and hearing firsthand what you think about the blog. Bring along your questions, and any blog ideas.

Hope to see you there!

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(posted 5/16/2023)

Webster community mailbag

14 May

This first item today is for anyone interested in learning more about the Forest Lawn neighborhood, up there along the lake, which has a surprisingly multi-faceted history.

On Wednesday May 17, the Webster Museum will host the next in their History and a Cup series. Beginning at noon, fourth-generation Forest Lawn resident George Forsyth will tell stories about growing up in Forest Lawn and the home he now lives in, built by his grandfather Walter Forsyth.

George was surrounded by family including his Uncle, Judge C. Benn Forsyth who authored the Forest Lawn book. His stories, will be include his memories as a child. He will bring photos and try to answer all your questions. Bring a sandwich for lunch, and the museum will provide coffee, lemonade and cookies.

Forest Lawn is a lakeside community neighborhood of permanent residents with its own mayor. Samuel Pierce, an early settler, bought and farmed 73 acres along the lake beginning in 1850. His son Horace and an attorney friend, George D. Forsyth, saw potential commercial opportunities in developing the land due to its proximity to the lake and proposed a railway line. In 1888, the Forest Lawn community began with the construction of a hotel. Shortly after, the land was divided into lots which were sold for summer cottages. Wealthy judges and lawyers from Corn Hill soon discovered the area. They would commute to the city by trolley for business, while their families enjoyed summers at the lake.

On Sunday, May 21 beginning at 2 p.m., the museum will hold an Open House to highlight their new Forest Lawn exhibit. Mayor Caley Ferguson will speak at 3 p.m.

If you can’t make it to either of the presentations, plan on stopping by the museum some other time. Their Forest Lawn exhibit will be up all summer. The Webster Museum is located at 18 Lapham Park in the Village of Webster. It’s open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Check out the website for more information, and “like” the museum on Facebook.  

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The 3rd Annual Duck Derby, sponsored by Webster Comfort Care Home, is this coming Saturday May 20, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Webster Park Beeches Pavilion.

Buy your tickets for $5 and watch them race down the creek to see which one wins (or don’t, because you don’t have to be there to win). This is always a fun morning, with family activities, refreshments, an egg hunt, kids’ games, story time with the Webster Public Library at 10:30, and Yolickity.

This is one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for Webster Comfort Care Home, so buy a duck … or ten ducks. Click here to purchase your ducks. Special prizes will be awarded to ducks #500, 1000 and 1500.

Questions? Call (585) 872-5290.

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There’s still time to get tickets for the concert on Saturday May 20 featuring two of Rochester’s premier a cappella choruses (which both call Webster home), the Chorus of the Genesee and Rochester Rhapsody.  The two groups will join their voices for “Harmony in the House,” a musical treat featuring both choruses and several a cappella quartets. The choruses will perform together and separately, and quartets from both groups will fill your heart with a variety of musical favorites. Plus, there’ll be door prizes, raffles, a bar, snacks, and plenty of free parking.

Tickets are $18 for the 3 p.m. matinee, and $20 for the 7 p.m. show. Following the evening performance, everyone is invited to hang around for the annual “Afterglow,” a fun party with food, drinks, more singing and socializing. Click here to get your tickets, or call 315-391-4911.

“Harmony in the House” is a fundraiser for the Harmony House, a beautiful historic building constructed in 1899, which both groups call home. The Harmony House is located at 58 East Main St. in the Village of Webster.

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Calling all girls interested in joining Girl Scouts!

Girl Scouts of Webster New York will be holding a Unicorn Party just for you on Tuesday, May 23 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Webster Public Library, 980 Ridge Rd.

All kindergarten (including pre-K students registered for kindergarten) and first-grade girls are invited to learn more about the Girl Scouts, and enjoy unicorn-themed crafts and games. There’s no charge.

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The Friends of the Webster Public Library have come up with a great new event for bibliophiles. It’s their very first Vintage and Collectible Book Sale on Saturday June 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The event will offer more than 140 books in good or better condition at very attractive, fixed prices. There are lots of first editions or first printings, published anytime from the late 19th century to the previous decade of the 21st century. Books from authors in the Library of America series and from the NY Times Best Seller list will be displayed. You’ll find books about Rochester and upstate New York; a good-sized assortment of books about war and its weapons; a few Tolkien items; some juvenile fiction ranging from the Bobbsey Twins to Harry Potter; many, many books about music, art, popular culture, animals, health, business, and history, along with biographies and even a couple of books we find hard to describe but they sure look interesting.

The sale will be held in the Community Room of the library, 980 Ridge Rd.

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Here’s a fun way to support Miracle Field and enjoy some great music at the same time.

It’s the Challenger Miracle Field Blues Night, scheduled for Thursday, June 1 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Monroe Golf Club in Pittsford. Tickets are $75 which includes hors d’oeuvres, entertainment, a Mission Moment, and more. Please RSVP and get your tickets by May 25 by clicking here.

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The first Village of Webster Wine Walk will be held on Saturday, June 3 from 4 to 7 pm. starting at Jo Jo Bistro and Wine Bar. 

Tickets are $15 and will only be available online, but I don’t have a link for that yet. As soon as I get one, I’ll pass it along. Or stay tuned for details at Hopefully they’ll be updated shortly. But in the meantime, get this on your calendar now.

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(posted 5/14/2023)