Tag Archives: town of webster

Will Ridge Road get a Country Max?

20 Jun

Representatives from Country Max, a Rochester-based garden supply and pet supply store, were on hand at the Webster Planning Board meeting Tuesday night to present their plans to build a store on the southwest corner of Ridge and Hatch roads.

The proposal includes constructing a 26,000-foot building with outdoor nursery, bag yard and parking lot on a 6.72-acre parcel (which is actually comprised of two lots, at 1165 Hatch and 711 Ridge). Two entrances will be included, one off of Ridge and the other off of Hatch.

The plan is already getting a lot of attention. About a dozen town residents attended the meeting to hear the proposal. Several of them were residents of the cul-de-sac on Bishops Lane; the large store will be built pretty much in their back yards.

After an engineer representing Country Max presented the plans, many of those in attendance approached the podium to ask questions and express their concerns. Among them were:

  • noise levels from equipment and trucks
  • buffer space between the houses and the store
  • increase in traffic on Ridge and Hatch roads
  • intrusive lighting
  • maintenance of the buffer zone (which will include a mowed area and retention ponds)
  • possible unsightliness from discarded pallets and heavy equipment behind the store

There was a lot of discussion especially about the amount of buffer space between the Bishops Lane homes and the store, and what Country Max was planning to do to maintain some of the wild area in the buffer zone and conceal the back of the store from the nearby homes.

One woman simply asked “Why?” Why does Country Max need to build a brand new store in Webster less than a mile from Thomas Landscaping, less than three miles from Lowe’s, and when there are already Country Max stores in Fairport and Ontario.

“What’s wrong with some green grass on Ridge Road instead of just commercial here and commercial there?” she asked. “The Town of Webster is becoming the Mall of Webster.”

Another resident added to that thought by wondering why they were constructing a new building rather than moving into the empty Kmart or Grossman’s.

The Country Max representatives did their best to answer the residents’ concerns.

In addition to a 50-foot town-owned strip of green space on the north side of the cul-de-sac, the store will have a 100-foot buffer, they said. The store is only open during the daytime hours (no later than 8 p.m.) and there won’t be any after-hours loading. Lighting will not be intrusive, they assured the residents; even the after-hour security lighting will be pointing down, and the parking lot lighting will be pointing mostly to the north.

As for concealing the store from the residents’ back yards, Country Max is already planning a stand of evergreens along some of the back lot line. Several people asked that those trees be extended along the entire lot line, a proposal which the Planning Board members seemed to think was reasonable.

With regards to traffic, Country Max will be working with both the State of New York (which is responsible for Ridge Road) and the Town of Webster (responsible for Hatch Road). They don’t expect the increase in traffic to be significant enough to warrant a traffic study.

Planning Board Chairman Anthony Casciani even said that during busy hours, the existing traffic light at Hatch Road, and the ability to exit onto Hatch Road would both help.

The representatives also address the “Why?” question.

“We’re actually returning to Webster,” he said.  “We’re happy to be back, part of the Webster community. We’ll try to be as likable as we can, promise not to close other businesses down, (to be a) friendly competitor. It’s a great community to be involved in.”

The planning board meeting marks just the beginning of what will probably be a pretty long process. According to the engineer, if and when Country Max receives approval, construction won’t begin until at least the fall.

The discussion will continue at another public hearing scheduled for Tuesday night Aug. 7, at 7 p.m. at the Town Board Room in the VanIngen Court Building, 1002 Ridge Road (that’s the one in back that used to be the library).

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Community Blood Drive will be back Thursday

6 Jun

This year’s raffle prize bags fill a table, awaiting donor tickets. 

If you didn’t have a chance to get out this afternoon or evening for the Webster Community Blood Drive, please consider carving out an hour of your day tomorrow to do so.

The drive will return Thursday from noon to 7 p.m. at the Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive, and with it the chance to win one of more than 30 raffle prizes.

That’s what Webster does at this one-of-a-kind donation drive. Two dozen Penfield and Webster businesses have donated more than 30 raffle prizes to the cause. (Check my earlier blog for a list of all the prizes.)  Every presenting donor (which means if you show up and sign in) gets 10 raffle tickets to drop in a table filled with raffle prize bags. PLUS everyone gets a Red Cross t-shirt AND a coupon from Bruster’s for a pint of ice cream.

Like, absolutely free.

And of course, there’ll be homemade cookies and juice boxes to reward you after your donation.

Then of course of course, remember that your donation will help save up to three lives.

What’s not to love? Just drop in — there are plenty of walk-in slots available, so you’ll be in and out in about an hour.

The need, by the way, is pretty desperate right now, so please don’t put off your donation until the next drive. (‘Cause there won’t be raffles and free ice cream there, for starters.) I’m signed up for a 4:15 appointment, so maybe I’ll see you there?


Congratulations to Brandi, the lucky donor who walked away with the drive’s first prize, a gift basket from Schutt’s. 

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WFD hosts blood drive

30 May

CaptureYour next opportunity to be a blood donor is later this week, when our Webster Volunteer Fire Department hosts a donation drive this Thursday from 1 to 7 p.m. at the Community Meeting Room, 35 South Avenue.

The drive is being co-hosted by the North East Joint Fire District and is coordinated by Webster volunteer firefighter Jacky Ingrassio. She’s encouraging a friendly competition between Webster Fire Department and West Webster Fire Department to see which can donate the most units.

But of course they’re also hoping that all eligible donors in our community will come out and “answer the call,” and give blood in honor of our everyday heroes.

This drive is especially important as the Red Cross is experiencing an urgent need for blood, a situation which will only get worse as the summer progresses.

Zoom in on the poster to see how you can make an appointment, but of course walk-ins are always welcome.

Can’t make Thursday’s drive? Stay tuned for news about next week’s bi-annual Webster Community Blood Drive. (That’s the one with the raffles.) The big white signs should be going up this weekend.

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Historic properties to be recognized at Town Board meeting

7 May
sharon pratt

Sharon Pratt with an example of the plaques awarded every year.

The Town of Webster has a rich history, reflected in part by the many historic homes and businesses which are still standing, and in great shape.

For ten years now, the Historic Properties Committee of the Webster Museum and Historical Society has worked to recognize these buildings, and the owners who have put time and effort into maintaining them so they still retain their original charm.

Every May since 2008, the committee has presented commemorative plaques to a selection of these historic homes.

The plaque program grew out of a survey of historic properties which a small group of museum volunteers tackled about 18 years ago. They were looking especially for any homes which still had enough of their historical integrity that their original owners would still recognize them.

Museum secretary Sharon Pratt was one of those volunteers.

There were “more than we ever thought,” she said. Hundreds, even. So many that it took them a few years to compile their information, going to each house in turn, filling out a form and taking photos. In 2007 they decided take all that information and propose a commemorative plaque program to the town. It would be a great way to recognize the town’s visual history, they argued, and a way for the town to say thank you to the homeowners who are caring for that history.

The town agreed. In 2008 the committee handed out its first 10 plaques, and have continued the program with the Town’s blessing every year since.

Most of the 65 plaques that have been presented so far have gone to homes in the Town of Webster. Two years ago, however, the committee decided it was time to include the village as well. The first two village properties to be recognized were Holy Trinity Church and 135 East Main Street, a home which held the village’s first hospital.

This year, the committee will be presenting six more plaques, four to Town of Webster homes, and two to village properties.

The presentation will take place on Thursday May 17 during the regular meeting of the Webster Town Board, at 7:30 p.m. at Webster Town Hall, 1000 Ridge Road.

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Town of Webster opens its doors next weekend

6 May


Ever wonder what it looks like inside the police department? Have you ever wanted to check out the sewer treatment plant? And have you been at the Webster Library since they renovated it?

You can check out all these places and more when the Town of Webster hosts its annual open house on Saturday May 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The fun starts at Webster Town Hall, 1000 Ridge Road, where you can tour the newly remodeled Town Hall and police department, then head over to the court room and town board room in the Van Ingen Building. Buses will depart every 15 minutes to take people to the recreation center, sewer treatment plant, the library and the highway department.

Basically it’s one-stop shopping for anyone who has any questions about our town’s facilities and employees.

There’ll also be lots of other stuff going on at Town Hall for both kids and adults,  including picture IDs, emergency vehicles, community informational displays, refreshments and more.

There’s no charge for anything, so make sure to stop by for this informational, family-friendly event, Saturday May 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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The mulch is back!

14 Apr

It’s one of the surest signs of spring — the huge mulch pile which consumes a chunk of the parking lot behind Town Hall on Ridge Road every April.

Well, it’s back, courtesy the Town of Webster Highway Department, despite the fact that yard work weather still hasn’t really settled in for good.

The 100% leaf mulch is created from composted leaves picked up during autumn. Town of Webster residents are welcome to back up their car or pick up to the pile and load in as much as you can take. (No contractors or landscapers please.)

There’s no charge but remember that you can only use good ol’ elbow grease to load it up; no machinery or equipment is allowed.

The Highway Department will continue to replenish the pile until the tons of mulch are depleted in the upcoming weeks. The mulch will be restocked as needed and only available while supplies last.

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We need more friends like these

27 Mar

signpostI happened to be reading through my most recent edition of the Friends of Webster Trails newsletter, and I came across something that made me stop in my tracks.

In his introductory notes, editor John Boettcher noted that “Treasurer Bill Polito and Membership Chair Denise Bilsback (have) our membership on the cusp of breaking 200.”

I stopped and read the passage again, thinking I might have missed a zero the first time through. But I hadn’t.

The way John wrote that, it almost seemed like he was a bit excited by that number.  I, on the other hand, am appalled. I have a hard time understanding why so few people — or families or couples — think enough about what the Friends of Webster Trails accomplishes to become members.

I KNOW that more than 200 people a year use Webster’s awesome trails — trails that are so awesome BECAUSE of the Friends — a dedicated team of volunteers who work every summer to create new trails, improve existing trails, remove invasive vegetation, install signage, build bridges…

And while the grunt work is completed by volunteers, a lot of the improvements cost money. So far the Friends have accomplished amazing things with the limited funds they have. Just think about what they could do if 100 or 200 more families would throw them $10 or $15 to become members. (P.S. that’s all it costs.)

So c’mon. Log onto www.webstertrails.org and become a member. Especially if you use our trails a lot. If you’re not familiar with the network of trails that surround us, this would also be a great way to learn about them. The newsletter alone is packed with information and updates. This month, for example, I read about

  • the Hidden Gems guided hikes
  • the 2018 Wegmans Passport to Family Fitness Program
  • proposed improvements to the Hojack Trail
  • a new bridge at Gosnell Big Woods Nature Preserve, and more.

Individual memberships are only $10 and family memberships are $15. It’s a great investment in Webster’s natural resources.


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Fundraiser will benefit the JACK Foundation

30 Jan
jack playground

Jack’s Place, the first playground built by the JACK Foundation, is located in Penfield’s Rothfuss Park. 

The JACK Foundation is moving ahead with plans to build their second dinosaur-themed playground, and this one will be in Webster. To make that playground a reality, they need your help.

The foundation will host its Second Annual Benefit Dinner on Saturday February 10, from 4:30 to 11:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 1111 Jefferson Road.

In addition to appetizers and dinner, the family-friendly event will feature lots of kids’ activities — including face painting, balloon animals, tattoos and a special performance by The Happy Pirates from 7 to 8 p.m. — a DJ, photo booth, casino tables, raffles, silent auction and a cash bar.

Tickets are $40 per person, $15 for children ages 3 to 9, and free for children 2 and under. Tickets will only be sold online, so click here to purchase, and for more information about the event.

All proceeds from the event will go to help build the JACK Foundation’s second playground, following up on the very successful Jack’s Place, which opened last summer in Penfield’s Rothfuss Park.

The playgrounds are being built in honor of 3-year old Jack Heiligman, who lost his life tragically in October of 2016. The playgrounds are just one way in which Jack’s parents, Anne and AJ, are keeping their son’s joyful spirit alive, by spreading laughter, happiness and love to other families.

The JACK Foundation hopes to have the new playground fully installed sometime this summer. Stay tuned here for more information as plans progress, and GET YOUR FUNDRAISER TICKETS NOW.


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More about Bella’s Bumbas

14 Jan

For those of my blog readers who don’t subscribe to the Democrat and Chronicle, I’d like to share with you my Our Towns East Extra story which ran in the paper this morning. It tells about an incredible Webster couple who have dedicated themselves to changing the lives of young children with disabilities all over the world.

It’s kind of a long read, but I think it will warm your heart.


Webster couple’s love for their niece inspired tiny wheelchairs

Today, an update on Bella’s Bumbas, an organization I first wrote about last March. It’s a heart-warming story of a cause that began in Webster, but is now helping children all over the world.

Bella’s Bumbas began by chance a year ago by Webster residents Rebecca Orr and her husband Marty Parzynski.

In 2015, their niece Bella was born with spina bifida, which caused paralysis of her lower limbs. Troubled by Bella’s inability to move around and interact with other children, they did a little research and found a posting on Pinterest about how to make a toddler-sized wheelchair using a commercially-available “Bumbo” infant seat and a child’s bicycle tires. Marty got to work, and before long had built one for his niece. He called it “Bella’s Bumba.”

When word started spreading about what Marty had done and how it had changed Bella’s life, he and Rebecca started getting requests for Bella’s Bumbas from other parents. So they set up a workshop in the garage and started to mass-produce the wheelchairs, using mostly donated parts. They asked families only to cover the shipping costs.

When I first wrote about Bella’s Bumbas, Marty had only built and shipped five of the chairs. But when local and national media outlets started to pick up the story, orders began coming in from all over the country.

Now, almost a year later, Marty and Rebecca have shipped about 250 of the chairs, to 40 states and nine countries, and orders are still coming in at an average of four or five a week.

Along the way, they built a new workshop and developed a lot of shortcuts to help streamline the operation, which helps them keep up with the demand. It only takes about 10 minutes now for Marty to cobble together a wheelchair, compared to the three hours it took for the first Bella’s Bumba.

They’ve also learned a lot about the unique needs of the children they’re serving. Their chairs are now being shipped to children not just with spina bifida, but also those with cerebral palsy, brittle bone disease, microcephaly, Dandy-Walker Syndrome, and about 30 other mobility issues.

Marty has also designed three new chairs specifically adapted to each child’s specific needs, including one with a basket to carry an oxygen tank and other medical devices.

One thing that hasn’t changed is how the Bella’s Bumbas are improving the lives of everyone they touch.

“It’s increased our compassion for children and their needs and families,” Marty said. “Not just for the children, but for the moms and dads who have been going through the disability with the child. This chair has given them such a freedom in their own lives ….It works both ways.”

“It’s just amazing where this has taken us,” he added.

And Bella, the little girl who started it all and whose parents were told she would never walk, is now two and a half years old. She still uses her Bumba to get around quickly, but with her improved upper body strength, she’s graduated to leg braces and a walker.

“She’s thriving,” Rebecca said. “The chair is now for her playtime. She may walk (with) just hand crutches someday.”

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And here’s some  more information I didn’t have time the space to include into the article:

  • A few months ago, Bella’s Bumbas was featured on CBS News. You can see that video here. 
  • Rebecca and Marty have received incredible support from several local businesses, including 1) B&L Wholesale Supply in Rochester, who provides all of the Azack material for the chair bases, free of charge, 2) HandicappedPets.com, which has donated $12,000 worth of bicycle tires; and 3) Superior Solutions of Webster, which ships all of the chairs domestically for one, very reasonable, flat rate.  Rebecca also notes that “our Friday volunteer George is essential to helping “Sarge” keep up with the building.”
  • Bella’s Bumbas has shipped chairs to children in China, the Philippines, Czechoslovakia,  Argentina, Sierra Leone, Guatemala,  Greenland, Canada, and the UK. 
  • Becky and Marty’s efforts have inspired a man in Germany to start building the wheelchairs as well, setting up a similar organization he calls Lina’s Rollis. He has taken over several of Bella’s Bumbas European orders, building and shipping them at a much reduced rate.
  • In December, Bella’s Bumbas was honored to present four chairs to Golisano’s Children’s Hospital, donated in memory of Rebecca’s mom, Marilyn Baize Campagna. They were built with funds donated in her memory and will allow her to keep on helping children, something she loved to do.
  • Bella’s Bumbas still builds these chairs at no cost to the families, asking only that the shipping costs be covered. If you’d like to help, they could use cash donations to help purchase parts that have not been donated. To do so, log onto their GoFundMe page, or you can send a check directly to Bella’s Bumbas, 1170 Ridge Road, PMB 208, Webster, NY 14580.
  • They can also use packing materials — especially bubble wrap and pillow packs (not peanuts, please) — so if you regularly get shipments using these, start hoarding them!

I just heard from Becky this morning, who never slows down. She wrote, “I’m packing to ship eight chairs, and we have found transportation for two to go to China, one to go to India and one to Ireland, all by the end of March.”

If all that wasn’t enough to fill your heart, visit the Bella’s Bumba Facebook page, where you can see videos of many of the kids these chairs has helped. So many smiling faces, as these children discover mobility for the very first time in their lives.

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A day of remembrance

24 Dec


Today is a day of mourning in Webster. Today marks the 5th anniversary of the morning we lost two of our local heroes, West Webster firefighters Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka, when a madman took their lives as they rushed to put out a fire on Lake Road.

As you celebrate the holiday today and tomorrow, hold your family close and hug them a little tighter. And don’t forget to say “I love you.” Then say a prayer for Thomas, Mike and their families.

Here’s the link to a video the D&C put together from the service held this morning at the Lake Road memorial.

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