More great Webster Village business news

11 Oct

It’s been a long time coming, but Yesterday’s Muse books is finally reopening. However, they’re counting on their loyal customers to follow what have become some normal COVID guidelines, of course.

Here’s the email I got from owner Jonathan Smalter:

We are excited to announce that, beginning Monday October 12th, our shop will officially reopen to the public during our usual business hours! ALL shoppers MUST wear a mask; NO EXCEPTIONS. If you are unable to wear a mask, please shop with us online. Our full stock is available to search and browse on our website, and orders can be shipped to you, or retrieved via curbside pickup.

Please continue to practice social distancing while shopping with us. The floor is marked with arrows encouraging one-way traffic flow, and markers to denote appropriate social distancing positions in high traffic areas. In addition, hand sanitizer is available at the checkout counter, and we encourage you to wash your hands in our public restroom upon your arrival and your departure.

BOOK BUYING SERVICES BY APPOINTMENT ONLY UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. Please continue to expect some delays for book buying and special orders. One third of our staff is still working from home, and new protocols we have in place for keeping you safe do take some time each day to implement. You can call us at 585-265-9295 or email us at If we are not available when you call, please provide a detailed message and we will get you in the queue to reply to your inquiry. Thank you for your patience and continued support.

While this pandemic has affected how we are able to do business, it has not impacted us getting our hands on loads of new acquisitions! We have been hard at work during these past months cataloging our fingers off. So what are you waiting for? Come on in or shop with us online and see what’s new! And remember, you can still order new books and pre-order upcoming releases on our Bookshop page.

Even if you’re not a bibliophile, if you’re wandering by Yesterday’s Muse in the next several days, pop in just to say hi and welcome back. We all need to support our local businesses during these trying times, even if it’s just saying “we missed you.” 

Yesterday’s Muse is located at 32 W. Main St., next door to the Village offices. 

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Webster community mailbag

8 Oct

I’ve got a couple of items for you today, the first coming from our friends at the Webster Public Library.

Their last pop-up book sale of the year will take place this Saturday Oct. 10 from from noon to 3 p.m. in the library parking lot (because the library itself is not open that day). This is especially great news since last week’s sale had to be cancelled because of the weather. This Saturday’s weather, in contrast, looks spectacular.

Fill a bag for just $3 — both cash and checks will be accepted.

This is a great chance to stock up on books for the long winter months ahead. Teachers, this is a great opportunity also to add to your classroom libraries.

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St. Martin Lutheran Church on Bay Rd. will host a pulled pork drive-through BBQ on Saturday Oct. 24, from 4:30 until they sell out.

The take-out dinner includes pulled pork, roll, salt potatoes, cole slaw and cookie for just $10. Proceeds will support the church’s annual Christmas Stocking Project reaching over 500 children and teens in Monroe and Wayne counties.

Pull into the parking lot, place your order using exact payment, and the dinner will be delivered to you as you drive up in your car.

St. Martin Lutheran Church is located at 813 Bay Rd.

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The biannual Webster Community Blood Drive is coming back into town next Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 7 p.m.

This is the drive advertised by all those big white signs posted around town. It’s always a very popular blood drive, in part because in the past, donors could participate in several raffles for prizes donated by local businesses.

In April, at the height of the pandemic, organizers decided to turn the tables and support our local businesses — who were having a hard time staying afloat — by encouraging donors to purchase gift cards, which were then donated to our local first responders.

That was so successful that this month’s drive will be much the same. Gift card and cash donations will be accepted for our first responders for anyone who would care to donate.

So basically, by attending next week’s blood drive, you’ll be saving lives through your blood donation AND through your support for first responders.

The two-day drive will be held on Wednesday Oct. 14 and Thursday Oct. 15, from noon to 7 p.m. each day. It’s in a new location this time, at the Webster Firemen’s Building on Sanford Street, behind the Firemen’s Field.

To assure proper social distancing, appointments will be required. Log onto to sign up.

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The North Bee is still going strong — and getting better

4 Oct

I got a wonderful email the other day from another local business owner who has not only survived this current epidemic, but is doing her best to come out stronger.

Amy Stringer, owner of The North Bee on North Ave. in the village, told me that she has decided to quit her day job so she can focus her efforts on what is really her passion, her unique gift shop, The North Bee.

What makes The North Bee so unique is that most of the items Amy features are based on honey and bees. That includes more than 30 varieties of honey, beeswax products and other wellness products from the hive.

But Amy has been branching out of late and is introducing some delicuous new items to her store. She writes,

Over the summer we built a commercial kitchen on our property and I have been making and selling elderberry syrup at the store. I now have a fridge you can help yourself to your own syrup, or Beehive Beverage, a honey based soda beverage.

She’s also lots of new products and varieties of honey.

Amy says she offers “handcrafted goodness with a healthy dose of wellness,” which describes her products as well as the precautions she has taken during the COVID crisis.

Windows are open, the air filter running when they are closed, a self-serve honey tasting table is now available on request, sanitizer is available and high touch-surfaces are frequently wiped down. The children’s room is open and sanitized as needed.

One of the best bits of news is that Amy is expanding her hours. The North Bee is now open Tuesday 4 to 7 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday 10 to 4, Friday 10 to 2 and Saturday 10 to 3. She’s located at 27 North Avenue, across the street from Veteran’s Park and the gazebo. She offers local delivery, curbside pickup and shipping. You can shop in store or online at on her website.

She’s coming up on her second anniversary, by the way, which is quite an accomplishment, Make sure to tell her congratulations when you’re in there shopping!

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Things are looking good this COVID school year

3 Oct

So we’ve made it to October.

We’re several weeks into the new school year and things — at least from my perspective — are going pretty well.

I’m sure I’m not the only one pleasantly surprised that we’ve gotten this far before having to shut down again due to the virus. I credit that success to the behaviors I have seen in the two elementary schools I work at.

When classes move through the halls, often times the children have their hands out in front of them to maintain social distancing. They are paying attention to the little spots on the floor which tell them where to stand when they’re waiting in line for the restroom. They don’t seem to mind sitting widely spaced from their friends while they’re in their room.

But I’m particularly impressed by the way young students have come to accept the need to wear masks.

The teachers have done a wonderful job making the need for masks seem normal, incorporating it into their class songs and bulletin boards. I haven’t heard about any pushback from the students about the masks (even though the pre-K and kindergarten kiddoes often have to be reminded to pull it up over their noses). Clearly, putting on a mask for school has become as normal for them as bringing their backpack. (Thank you also to parents for supporting that!)

There have been some rough spots, of course. Elementary school arrival and dismissal procedures were rather inefficient for the first week or so as schools tried to streamline their procedures for the large number of children being dropped off and picked up by parents. But things seem to be running pretty smoothly now, allowing teachers their maximum opportunity to be with their morning and afternoon classes.

I understand that accommodating the large number of remote students at the middle and high school levels has also been a challenge which we’re still trying to work through.

Most definitely this year has dealt some very real difficulties to our Webster CSD families, especially those with very young children. But, given the circumstances, I think everyone is doing the best they can.

We just have to keep doing that for as long as we need to. We will weather this storm together.

Schlegel Elementary School staff members rocking their masks for a group photo on opening day.

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Not quite a mailbag

28 Sep

The concerts and movies in the park are done. Trick-or-Treating in the Village is on hiatus this year. There’s just not a whole lot going on in the village these days.

Or is there?

If your organization has a special event coming up which you would like me to mention in my blog, PLEASE email me the information! I don’t even have enough events to put together a respectable mailbag.

I DO, however, get regular emails from the Webster Public Library. They always seem to have something special going on, and more to the point, they let me know about it.

For example, coming up this Thursday is the library’s next pop-up book sale, which will be set up outside the library.

I’m told by my library peeps that there will be a lot of teen and children’s books, so it will be a great chance for teachers to add to their classroom libraries. There will also be some education/teaching/homeschooling books, and plenty of adult fiction in case you know of some places who could use them (like doctor offices, nursing homes, little free libraries).

The sale runs from noon to 4 p.m. this Thursday at the library, located at 980 Ridge Rd.

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If you haven’t seen it yet, you gotta check out the new patio and outdoor furniture at The Filling Station, 77 East Main St.

I’ve been watching the progress for weeks as they poured the cement, put up the fencing and waited seemingly forEVER for the new furniture to arrive. I’m just glad to see that the weather has stayed nice enough for long enough for people to take advantage of the new patio.

And have you seen all the new sidewalks along Ridge Rd.? This project has long been in the works but is finally coming to fruition. By the time they’re all installed, you’ll be able to walk on sidewalks from the village all the way to Five Mile Line Rd.

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Produce and flowers and crafts, oh my!

23 Sep

Don’t let the slow creep of autumn scare you away; Webster’s Joe Obbie Farmer’s Market is still up and running every Saturday in the Towne Center Plaza, at the corner of Ridge and Holt (near Old Navy and the gazebo).

The market offers locally-grown fresh produce (including this season’s apples), baked goods, jams & jellies, honey, maple syrup, fresh meats, plants, spices and crafts. When I was there last weekend I grabbed some tomatoes and even started my Christmas shopping.

The market runs through the first week in November, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday. For more information, check out their Facebook page. And scroll through the slideshow at the top of this blog to see more photos!

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Important information about student substance use

22 Sep

There’s a group of folks in our school district who are hyper-focused on keeping our kids safe and substance-free.

They’re called WHEN, the Webster Health and Education Network, and they’re a team of Webster community members including businesses, parents, teachers, law enforcement and healthcare providers who have come together to educate our community about substance abuse.

I recently got a press release from WHEN announcing their newly redesigned website and suggesting some important signs parents should watch for in these COVID-19 days. I wanted to pass some of that information along today.

Here’s some of what that release said:

WHEN:DFCC, Webster Health and Education Network: A Drug Free Community Coalition, has launched a new, more robust website to further their efforts to “Empower Webster kids to grow up strong and substance-free.” The website features prevention information and current activities, along with opportunities for community members to get involved.

There are several COVID-19-related factors WHEN:DFCC would like to make Webster families aware of as kids return to school this month:

COVID-19 is associated with youth use of e-cigarettes. Encourage kids to quit and not to share Juuls, vape pens or cigarettes with others.

Be aware of the poisoning hazard that both liquid nicotine and hand sanitizer can present, and store these away from children and pets.

COVID-19 has raised levels of stress and anxiety for many, which can prompt negative coping strategies like misuse of prescription drugs, drinking, or smoking/vaping. Encourage positive coping strategies instead.

Mental health resources are available to those struggling to cope, or experiencing distress or depression. Please call the NY COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline for free emotional support, consultations and referrals: 1-844-863-9314.

One of the best ways to protect your children is to make sure that all of your medications and alcohol are secured, and unused medications promptly and properly disposed of. WHEN:DFCC has made free drug disposal bags and medication lock boxes available to Webster residents while supplies last. You can pick them up at the Webster Chamber of Commerce at 1110 Crosspointe Lane Suite C, Webster during their regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. And remember that there’s a pharmaceutical waste drop-box at Town Hall, just inside the doors to the police department. 

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NEQALS is finally getting a REAL home

21 Sep

It’s been years in the making, but NEQALS will soon have a beautiful new home to call its own.

NEQALS (Northeast Quadrant Advanced Life Support) has been providing emergency life support in Webster, Ontario, and Penfield for 35 years. The agency’s roots go back to 1985, when a handful of Xerox employees were trained to provide emergency services to the Xerox campus.

In the years since, NEQALS became a separate entity and expanded to meet the growing need for emergency services in our area. But they’ve never had a permanent home, bouncing around among several locations in town, each with varying amounts of space for staff members to sleep and have meals.

That will finally change, with the construction of a new, dedicated headquarters building on Jackson Rd. next to the Ukranian Cultural Center.

The land was purchased almost six years ago, kicking off a long period of fundraising. Thanks to community donations and a grant from Senator Pam Helming’s office, enough money was finally raised for the project’s down payment.

The handsome new facility will have space for ten fly cars and ambulances, office space, bunk rooms, conference rooms, a kitchen, and more. Construction should be completed by next April.

Our dedicated first responders deserve this space, and I’m thrilled to see they’re finally getting it. Most of us don’t think much about our local EMTs and ambulance service until we need them. But when we do, it’s comforting to know they’re just a phone call away.

I experienced this personally last month when I took that spill off my bike and had my first-ever ambulance ride to the hospital. We didn’t have our car, so knowing that transportation to get medical treatment was going to come to ME took away some stress during what was a pretty traumatic experience.

I hope you’ll never need to call NEQALS, never have to have one of their ambulances respond to your home or auto accident. But if that terrible day does occur, you’re going to appreciate having these dedicated first responders at your side.

Fundraising continues for the new facility. Please consider throwing them a a few dollars next time you have the chance.

Here are some more photos from the ground breaking:

Reconnecting with “the boys”

20 Sep

There’s very little that will get me to set an alarm before 8 a.m. on Sunday morning — or set an alarm at all. But if it meant a chance to reconnect with “the boys,” I was happy to make the sacrifice.

I hadn’t seen the boys in more than ten years. I first met them back in 2008. I had to drive my son to Schroeder very early every Wednesday morning for his chorus practice, and since I didn’t have to be at work that early, I’d stop over to Hegedorn’s and have a cup of coffee.

On those mornings, several guys would be sitting in a nearby booth, drinking coffee and having lively conversations. For a few weeks, I would just sit and listen to their conversations as I read the paper.

In my first blog about “the boys,” on June 6, 2008, I wrote:

The talk bounces from politics to the best hunting and fishing spots, from the weather to the stock market. The conversations are always animated, the opinions always presented with conviction and an “I-don’t-care-if-you-agree-with-me-or-not” attitude. And if I keep my ears open, I occasionally pick up a vital kernel of knowledge such as “Never argue with a proctologist.”

But before long, I started joining in the conversations myself, and unofficially became one of the gang.

I started really looking forward to Wednesday mornings, which turned into Thursday mornings the following year when my daughter entered Schroeder and started chorus.

But early that school year, the boys were displaced when Guida’s Pizza moved into Hegedorn’s. I found them only once or twice after that, hanging out at nearby Bill Gray’s, but soon lost touch.

Until this morning. Thanks to a chance meeting with Tony, one of the original boys, at yesterday’s NEQALS groundbreaking ceremony, I found out that the guys are still meeting every morning, most of the time at Burger King on Hard Rd.

So I got up early and headed on over. I hoped they would remember me.

I shouldn’t have worried. As soon as I walked in I saw the smiles and heard some delighted greetings. The group’s grown a bit — they don’t fit in one, or even two booths anymore — and we’re all ten years older. But the conversations have pretty much remained the same.

And, coincidentally, Doug has a proctologist appointment this week. Hoping he remembers that sage advice from years ago.

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Village beauty all around

19 Sep

I wanted to send a quick shout-out and thank you this morning to Jake Swingley, Webster’s Supervisor of Public Works, and his crew for making our village look beautiful these days.

I took a moment on my recent walk to really notice all of the flowers and growing things that line our downtown streets. When those big planters were originally introduced, I admit I was skeptical about how nice they would look, but have been pleasantly surprised by how lush and beautiful they are every year. The flower beds are bursting with color, and the hanging baskets are so artistically overflowing that I want to take one home — but I think it would be missed.

Maintaining all of these plantings takes a lot of time and effort; for example, I often notice the watering guy puttering around town in his golf cart in the morning when I walk, diligently poking a watering wand up into each and every planter.

If you haven’t been in the village recently, or just haven’t taken a moment to look around, make a point to do so soon, and really try to notice the beauty all around you.

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