Tag Archives: Ridge Park

Who WAS Jon S. Gerling? I’ve found out more about him

3 Jul

Last August, I posted a blog about a small memorial located in Ridge Park, just steps from busy Ridge Rd., and next to Challenger Miracle Field. It was erected decades ago, but I had only just noticed it recently.

The memorial was created in honor of Jon S. Gerling. After discovering it, I tried to do a little research into Mr. Gerling, with limited success. So I tossed the blog out there reporting what I had discovered, and ended it by asking for anyone with more information to contact me.

It took several months, but earlier this year I heard from Rob Gerling, Jon’s son, who filled me in a little more about his father’s background and why the memorial was placed there.

He wrote,

You are correct my father is Jon S. Gerling, and you are correct he was very active in the Webster Athletic Association. Prior to his death my brother and I played baseball in WAA and my father was both a coach of teams and commissioner of the league. After his death the baseball field by the Town Hall was dedicated in my father’s name.  

Rob added that Jon was the son of Curt Gerling, who at the time owned Empire State Weeklies, which published many weekly newspapers in the area including the Webster Herald. Curt was also an author (having written three books on Rochester society and an autobiography), and an early WXXI-TV personality.

In a follow-up email, Rob provided even more background about his family and life in 1960s Webster, writing,

(My father) grew up in the Rochester area, went to Brighton High School, and graduated in 1959. He attended Furman University in Greenville, SC, although only went for a couple of years.  He married my mother, Sheila Siede, in December 1961. Myself and my brother Jim, followed in 1962 and 1965. 

My father and his brother Bill both worked for my grandfather at Empire State Weeklies in Webster (now owned by Dave Young). Dave was there when I worked a few afternoons when they printed the papers on Tuesday afternoons.

My father was active in local sports, the Webster Athletic Association, with my brother and myself, up until his passing. My father along with his father was an avid outdoorsman. He enjoyed duck and pheasant hunting and fishing on Sodus Bay, where Curt Gerling (his father) had a hunting cabin. The place on Sodus Bay has since been sold.  While at Empire State Weeklies, my father sold advertising space in the various papers to local businesses where the paper was distributed.

His Brother Bill passed away in the early 2000’s and he also worked at the paper. He, like Curt, was very active in local Rochester politics. My father, not so much. 

Webster was a different place in the 60s and 70s growing up. We would go to Wegmans, Al’s Pizza, Musclow’s, Charlie Riedel’s and GoldenWest for a big night out on the town. There was a drive-in and a bowling alley. The town has changed in the last 50 years. 

My father is buried at West Webster Cemetery … He is buried with my father’s family, while his father Curt, and brother Bill are buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester.

Many thanks to Rob for helping us know more about Jon Gerling and how he — and his family — made their mark in our town.

Click here to read the original blog I posted about the memorial.

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

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(posted 7/3/2022)

So who WAS Jon S. Gerling?

4 Aug

You might think you’re totally unfamiliar with the name “Jon S. Gerling.” But it may surprise you to learn that you’ve very likely passed by this name countless times, especially if you’ve lived in Webster a long time and have children.

That was the case for me. Despite having lived in the area for almost 20 years, and having visited the Ridge Park playground and pavilion dozens of times, it took me that long to notice the small memorial that stands at the south end of the park, easily visible from Ridge Rd.

It announces that the baseball field next to you is the Jon S. Gerling Memorial Field.

The first time I noticed the memorial, I did a little online research to find out what I could about Mr. Gerling. Which was not much. I did find out that he died in 1977 at age 35 after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. And clearly he was a huge supporter of Webster baseball, since the obituary invited people to donate to the Webster Athletic Association in his memory.

Ridge Park, which is adjacent to Town Hall, is now home to Challenger Miracle Field of Greater Rochester, an outstanding adaptive playing field. So that kind of overshadows the Jon S. Gerling Memorial Field.

But let us not forget Jon S. Gerling. Perhaps next time you’re in the park, you can wander on over and take a closer look at the memorial and give a silent thank-you to Jon’s efforts to promote sports in our town.

If anyone has any more information about Jon Gerling, please email me!

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

Town info at your fingertips

20 Sep

IMG_20180917_184850397 (1)Last week, if you’re a Webster resident (or at least live within the 14580 zip code like me), you received the Town Times in the mail. I hope you didn’t just chuck it into the recycling bin, because there’s all sorts of interesting and useful information in there.

The newsletter, which is published three times a year, has regular columns from Supervisor Nesbitt, the police department, the highway department and the like. I kind of skim those. But several of the articles this time around made me pause and think, “Hmmm, I wonder if people know that.”

Here are a few of them:

  •  The Kent Park playground had a new safety surface installed this year. It’s comprised of three cushy layers so kids will fairly bounce off it if they fall. It’s also rated for walkers and wheelchairs. Didn’t know that Kent Park has a playground? This is a good reason to check it out, ’cause it’s a beauty.
  • Some of the older spray animals at the Ridgecrest Spray Park were removed earlier this year and replaced with ground-level water spray features. This great little park is on Ebner Drive, very near the village.
  • Construction of Miracle Field and its amenities is humming along. So far $2.1 million has been raised for the project, and the restroom and  concession pavilion is almost complete. If you haven’t seen this gorgeous accessible playing field yet, stop by; it’s right behind Town Hall in Ridge Park.
  • Did you know that you can receive regular emailed notifications and/or text alerts from the Town about important news items? To sign up, visit the Town of Webster website to register your email and/or phone. You can even choose which departments you’d like to get notifications from.
  • If you don’t like standing in line to pay your taxes, you should check out the new safe drop box located in the front vestibule of Town Hall. You can drop off your form and payment (checks only) in the box, and if it’s received before 4:30 p.m. it will be marked received on that day.
  • Finally — and this is cool — you can borrow an Empire Pass, and several museum passes, from the library! Basically, you check them out just like books, and you can use them at museums and parks for special admission prices.

Make sure to take a closer look at your Town Times for more details about all of these, and more information about a lot of town happenings.

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Play ball!

27 Aug


A nice photo of Challenger Miracle Field snapped by Mary Holleran

I was honored to be on hand yesterday for the official opening ceremonies for Challenger Miracle Field, a beautiful new sports facility for young athletes with developmental, physical or intellectual disabilities.

It’s located in Ridge Park, 1000 Ridge Road, behind Town Hall. It looks a lot like the Little League fields you’re familiar with, but it’s actually different in a lot of important ways.

It’s totally flat, for starters. There’s no dirt, and no grass. The pitcher’s mound and bases are not raised at all, but instead are painted into the brightly-colored rubberized artificial surface, which allows for all players to round the bases without fear of tripping, whether they’re walking, running, using a wheelchair or walker. The outfield fence is much closer to home than normally, allowing these children a real chance to hit a home run. And the fence is removable so the field can be adapted for other sports.

The field was built especially for the Challenger teams, who are typically given the lowest priority for field availability and only get to play if fields are not in use by other Little League, school or town teams. But the developers also made it clear that the field is available for use by the community; it’s for children and adults of all abilities.

There were a lot of accolades handed out at the almost one-hour long ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday, but one of the comments especially stood out.

At least one speaker called the new Miracle Field a “field of dreams.” That’s a phrase that’s tossed about a lot these days for lesser accomplishments, but I think it fits here.

In Challenger Miracle Field, these kids now have the chance to experience the thrill of playing on a baseball field that looks and feels like the stadiums they see on TV. Every weekend, they can put on a jersey and a baseball cap, step (or roll) up to the plate, raise a bat and be just like any other kid who loves sports.

Thank you to everyone who made this field a reality. Your efforts and dedication have been well rewarded and you are right to be proud.

The work is not done, however. Completely handicapped-accessible restrooms and playground, and a pavilion are still being planned for construction early next year. Fundraising continues to accomplish these goals.

Your next opportunities to help out are at the

Webster Garlic Festival, September 9 and 10 at the Webster Parks and Recreation complex on Chiyoda Drive. Food, fun, and lots of garlic. Hours are 10 a.m to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

3rd Annual Run, Walk & Roll, October 8 at Webster Thomas High School, 800 Five Mile Line Road. I’ll be running this one, so please come out and join me and my friends.

You can read more about Challenger Miracle Field — and donate directly through the website — by clicking here.

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram

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Webster Tuesday Mailbag

31 Jul

mailbagLet’s start out today’s mailbag with a few fun events sponsored by our Webster Public Library. 

If you love LuLaRoe, you’ll want to attend the library’s pop-up boutique on Wednesday, August 2 from 4 to 7 p.m. in the meeting room. All proceeds from the sale will benefit the library.

On Wednesday August 16, learn how to make a rain barrel in a special one-hour workshop for adults, from 6 to 7 p.m.

Rain barrels help reduce storm water runoff to storm drains by collecting and storing rainwater runoff from rooftops. Connect your rain barrel to a gutter downspout on your house, collect rainwater, and conserve tap water by using the rainwater on your gardens and landscaping. You will make and take home your own 55-gallon rain barrel. All tools and materials will be supplied at the workshop.

These workshops are usually very popular, so make sure to sign up ASAP. The cost to attend is $15.00, payable at the time of the event. Please register by clicking here.

Webster Marching Band Bottle and Can Drive

The Webster Marching Band’s next Bottle and Can Drive takes place this Saturday August 5 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It’s pretty easy to help the band — just put all your returnables in a big bag, tie it up and leave the bag outside your home or at the end of the driveway no later than 9:30 a.m. Or, if you’re going to be out and about — or if the band folks If they happen to miss your pick up — you can drop off your donations at Schroeder High School, 875 Ridge Road, by 4 p.m.

This is also your chance to get rid of all those old electronics cluttering up your garage. Drive them all over to Schroeder’s back parking lot between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and the friendly folks will even unload them for you.

Items accepted include desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, LCD monitors (not CRT monitors), laser printers (not ink-jet), and networking equipment. Please no CRT monitors, TVs or ink-based printers.

Annual Nick K 5K scheduled

nick K

The fourth annual Nick K 5K benefit race will take place on Saturday August 5 beginning at 8 am at the Webster Parks and Recreation Center.

Nicholas Kapusniak was killed on March 1, 2014 when a drive-by shooter fired into a group of college students in St. Louis, Missouri. Nick is a former resident of Webster and was attending school at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy.

The Nick K 5K hopes to draw attention to the violence that is becoming commonplace in our schools and cities. Part of the proceeds will go to local Crime Stoppers in Rochester and St. Louis, with the rest being put towards scholarships in his name at his high school in Waukesha, Wisconsin and the St. Louis College of Pharmacy.

Runners and walkers can register by clicking here . Cost is $25, and includes a t-shirt and other giveaways. Walk-up registrations will be accepted the morning of the race beginning at 7:15AM.

Fun in the village

The next Webster Wine Walk hits the village on Saturday Aug 12 from 4 to 7 p.m. This one is sponsored by Family First Federal Credit Union.

Enjoy sampling wines while strolling in and out of local merchants. Tickets are $15 and available at Family First Credit Union, 850 Ridge Road, or online at www.websterbid.com.

This is shaping up to be one of the best of the wine walks; there will be live entertainment at the gazebo from 6:30 to 8:15, followed by a showing of the classic movie Casablanca. So basically, you can make an entire date night out of it!

Penfield First Baptist Vacation Bible School

The Penfield First Baptist Church has sent me notice of their Vacation Bible School, scheduled this year for August 14 through 18.

This year’s program, for children ages 4 to 11, is called “Taking Root,” and helps children make connections between growing their faith in God and practicing their faith in the world by serving our neighbors.

Classes run from 9 am to noon, and feature games, crafts, songs, snacks, and of course Bible lessons! The week will conclude Friday night with a spirit-filled celebration by the children followed by refreshments.

Cost is $25 per child, with a maximum of $50 per household. Contact the church office to register, and email communication@fbpenfield.org with questions.

Miracle Field ribbon cutting

challenger field

Don’t forget about the ribbon cutting ceremony for Miracle Field on Saturday August 26 at 11 a.m. Be one of the first to see the completed field, built especially to give differently-abled children and adults the opportunity to experience the benefits and joy of play!

This special celebration, which is free and open to the public, will include a delicious ballpark lunch, courtesy of Wegmans.

Click here to see the blog I recently posted about how great this field is going to be.

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram

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Challenger Baseball is a hit with kids

25 Jul


challenger 3

It’s ‘batter up!” for Challenger team member Drew Ricci.

A few days ago, I went to pretty much the most enjoyable kids’ baseball game ever. Thing is, nobody made any outs, nor did I see even one fly ball caught or grounder cleanly fielded. But I did see a lot of smiles and heard a lot of laughter, cheers and applause.

The occasion was a game of the Webster Challenger Baseball League. The league is designed for children and adults with different abilities, and fields two age groups, a minor league and senior league. The goal is to provide these differently-abled athletes with the same kind of fun sports experiences that typical children have.

I hope by now you’ve already heard about this great league and what it’s accomplishing in Webster. The organization that has brought us Challenger Baseball has been working hard for years to build the Challenger Miracle Field of Greater Rochester right in our hometown, at Ridge Park, behind Town Hall on Ridge Road.

The game I was watching last Sunday was being played a few fields over from where Miracle Field is being built. Construction officially began  with a groundbreaking celebration last year, and had been continuing apace since. The fencing and rubberized grass surface are in place, so you can really start to see what the final facility will look like.

There’s still plenty to do, though. After the field itself is complete, plans are to build handicap-accessible restrooms, a concession stand, a pavilion and a handicap-accessible playground.

The first phase should be complete soon, and organizers are planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 am on Saturday August 26.

There are plenty of ways to help out. Volunteers are needed in many capacities. Donations — which can be made through the website — are always appreciated, of course. And if you’re into running, the 3rd annual Run, Walk & Roll fun run and 5K is scheduled for Sunday October 8 beginning at Webster Thomas High School. Pre-registration is just $20, and you can sign up here.

If you’re not sure yet about how important it is for these children and adults to have a field of their own, you need to attend one of their games. Just seeing the smiles when their bat connects with the ball — no matter if it only rolls a few feet or out of bounds — is all the convincing you need. You’ll see some of those happy faces in the slideshow below.

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For more information about Webster Challenger Baseball and the new Miracle Field, visit the Facebook page or website .

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.